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Category — Recipes

Shirley’s dessert

This is Shirley with her favorite Trader Joe’s cookies, they are Triple Ginger Cookie Thins and they are what Shirley uses for her Margarita Tart crust.

I bought a box, Shirley sent me her recipe and I made it last weekend. The family loved it, so now I share it with you. Thank you, Shirley! xoxo

 

One item I love to use when baking pies or using a springform pan is this wonderful rack that catches any drips.

Shirley’s Margarita Tart

Crust

  • 2 cups cookie crumbs made from Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Two 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon Tequila

Topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lime slices and strawberries, garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Crust: In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Press into a 9-inch springform pan. Place on a baking rack or baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

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October 25, 2017   2 Comments

field trip shopping day is here!

Today is the day I finally get to take Laura, Maggie and Shirley on the 8th Blogiversary Shopping Field Trip!

I’ve got their Trader Joe’s 50th Anniversary bags locked and loaded with $100 each.

These bags are the perfect example of why I love Trader Joe’s. The bags were sold to celebrate their golden anniversary and instead of charging more for the limited edition bags, they charged less! Regular TJ’s bags cost a mere $1. These special bags cost only fifty cents! TJ’s Is The Best!

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October 16, 2017   2 Comments

margarita time

Tram & Steve invited me over for Taco Night, they are the sweetest! I asked Tram if I could contribute an exotic margarita for the night. She, of course, said yes.

I found a recipe on Epicurious.com. I made one cocktail as written and found it to be much too strong and not as special or exotic as I had hoped. It needed some lime juice and some sweetness to bring it up to the place I knew it could be.

This photo does not include the additions I made to the cocktail, lime juice and a berry simple syrup, but those ingredients are there in the final version of the cocktail that I brought to dinner.

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October 2, 2017   2 Comments

Salsa de Peggy

While Anne, Peggy and I  were vacationing in Carlsbad last month, Peggy made her famous salsa. Lucky us! I took notes and happily share it with you.

Peggy insists that one thing is an absolute must for her salsa.

You must use only chiltepin chile peppers! They can be hard to find and are more expensive than that other little pepper easily found in grocery stores, the chile pequin. The pequin is nothing like the chiltepin, so don’t bother using it as a substitute.

The chiltepins are what make this an authentic Sonoran salsa. You can find them at Food City or on Amazon. To read more about the chiltepin and the salsa, check out this article from Edible Baja Arizona.

Peggy also prefers to use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppers and the garlic. Mine is packed away, so I opted for a cocktail muddler and measuring cup.

Alternately, you could start an empty food processor or blender, and while it is running, drop the garlic cloves and chiltepins through the feed tube into the empty machine and let it do the work for you.

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September 13, 2017   5 Comments

not as advertised

A couple of months ago I bought a 3-pound bag of refrigerated shredded beef at Costco. It had a long-away expiration date (March 2018!) and the photo of the beef on the front of the bag looked so good!

It sat in my refrigerator for a few weeks, then I took it on our trip to Carlsbad in the beginning of August, just in case we decided to make tacos or something. We never opened it, so it came back to Arizona. I finally opened it last week.

Not at all as pictured on the package. What a disappointment! Costco is known for its thorough vetting process before selecting and selling products. I’m not sure how this product slipped through. It didn’t taste all that bad, as I did end up using it for tacos one night, but then decided I’d rather use the rest in some sort of casserole. It tasted much better mixed in with other ingredients. The next time I make this dish, I’ll be using leftover beef from a roast.

Note: In a photo of the ingredients below, you may notice that the can of green chiles is missing. That is because I decided to add them as I was assembling the dish.

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September 11, 2017   No Comments

strawberry caprese

This time last month, Peggy, Anne and I were in Carlsbad, it was hot and muggy in Scottsdale, but cool and beautiful in California, strawberries were cheap and on sale in the markets and I made a strawberry caprese salad.

A month later, the three of us are back here sweating it out in the still hot and muggy Arizona, Carlsbad is still cool and beautiful and strawberries are still cheap and on sale in the markets this weekend.

It’s going to take another month or more for our weather to be as pleasant as California’s but the strawberries will not be around that long! So if you want to make this salad, the time is NOW!

This is the ad from Safeway this week.. it ends on Tuesday… just saying.

 

Strawberry Caprese Salad

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small firm ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze

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September 8, 2017   1 Comment

cool and crisp

This refreshing salad is the perfect counterpoint and complement to the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai – posted last week. It is best served cold from the refrigerator.

My family enjoys and can tolerate quite a bit of heat and spice in our food. I thinly slice the jalapeño pepper for this dish, but it can also be finely minced for those who like things toned down a bit. I give directions for both methods; you decide which suits your taste.

Prep the salad and the dressing hours ahead and then dress it just before you heat up the wok for the pad Thai and your meal will come together in a snap.

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September 6, 2017   No Comments

watermelon obsession

I’m sure I am not the only one. Honestly, I pray I’m not the only one! I often go though periods of time where I am obsessed with one specific food. I’m not talking about a craving, but rather a true obsession. Watermelon is my current object of complete focus and desire. I can’t get enough of it.

Maybe it’s this never-ending heat and the need to cool down. Perhaps I’m dehydrated and I’m using watermelon to refill and refuel my bodily fluids. Or could it be that watermelon is just so dang satisfying and delicious? Whatever it is, I confess that I’ve eaten two whole seedless watermelons in the last 3 days! I didn’t share them with anyone else, they were consumed by me alone. And I’m not talking about the sweet little baby-size individual watermelons, I’m talking about the 5 to 7-pound medium-size seedless watermelons.

Mostly, I ate them “straight up” but the other evening, I made dinner out of them by throwing together this simple salad, a copy-cat recipe of my favorite summer salad at True Food Kitchen.

At TFK, the salad is served with feta cheese. Earlier this summer I made it with fresh ricotta cheese and it was stellar! Since feta is easier to find and what I had on hand, I used it.

I’m not providing quantities for the recipe, make as little or as much as needed. Feed yourself or feed a crowd.

*Be sure watermelon is cold and the tomatoes are room temperature.

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September 1, 2017   7 Comments

Pad Thai Remix

I love this dish! Spaghetti squash is subbed in for the classic noodles.

Spaghetti Squash-Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper flesh
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast half, finely chopped

Pad Thai Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Pad Thai

  • 1 small to medium spaghetti squash (about a 2-pound squash)
  • Peanut or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the soy sauce and then stir in the garlic and jalapeño.

Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Pad Thai Sauce: Whisk together the rice vinegar, fish sauce, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons in a small glass bowl, Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds and whisk until everything is combined into a thin sauce.

Pad Thai: Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Place the halves, cut side up in a large Pyrex dish, add 1/4 cup water the dish and cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 8 minutes or until tender.

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August 30, 2017   4 Comments

garlic bread +++

I have been making a version of this Ina Garten recipe for more than 10 years. Over that time it has evolved several times over. The basics of it stay the same; make a garlic-herb mixture in a food processor, warm it in oil, use along with some softened butter on a loaf of bread and bake.

Photo

It is such a basic recipe and since we all make garlic bread, I never thought it was worth sharing. So why share it now? Well, I finally decided that it’s not just the bread that I’m sharing here, but the side benefit of making this bread – the extra oil/garlic/herb mixture that you end up with.

You see, over time, I’ve added more ingredients and volume to the original recipe, so there is always some of the oil mixture left. I freeze the excess in mini-ice cube trays and use the resulting oil cubes for sautéing.

They add extra and unexpected oomph to just about any savory dish. It’s like having little nuggets of cooking gold at your fingertips.

So make a loaf of garlic bread this week and some gold-green nuggets at the same time.

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August 28, 2017   1 Comment