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commitment fulfilled

For the last two years I’ve served as the vice-president of our HOA. I decided not to run again so yesterday my term ended. On Monday night, I hosted our annual meeting to vote in new board members.

boursin plus

I love my neighbors and I love my neighborhood, so it’s always a joy to cook for them. These next few days I’ll share the dishes I made for the meeting, beginning with this easy and yummy dip.

Pictured above are the main ingredients, less one package of the Boursin. Boursin comes in this three-pack at Costco and I made the recipe to use it up before the expiration date. I had bought it back in December, thinking I’d use it in some holiday cooking and entertaining, but no. Any savory flavor of Boursin would be just fine in this recipe.

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February 10, 2016   No Comments

harder than I thought

Getting back into the swing of it, blogging-wise, has been harder than I ever imagined it would be. Since I missed it so much, I thought I’d fall right back into the rhythm. Um, not so much!

I want to blame it on the holidays. Thanksgiving, out-of-town family, Christmas, even more family from out-of-town, New Year’s, and more family have made it hard to want to sit down at the computer and “work.” But that’s really not it. I blogged religiously for more than 5 years, through every major holiday and life event, so I can not claim that the season is the issue.

I’m just out of the habit, and until I get back on track, posts will be spotty. I’m now prepared for that reality and I hope that you’ll stick with me through this transition.

mjc

Marissa & Jeff drove back to Austin on Saturday. They had flown in two weeks ago but drove back so they could take all their wedding and wedding shower gifts. They made it back in record time, arriving home, safe and sound, by mid-morning on Sunday.

tamales enchilad style

On Friday night, for their last dinner at home, I made a pan of super-easy and super-yummy tamale enchiladas. So yummy, in fact, that I couldn’t get a photo of the pan before they were all but gone!

tamales

I bought the tamales from a young woman who was selling them at Connor’s apartment building. She had two adorable little ones in-tow, so how could I say no?  I bought a dozen green chile-chicken tamales and a dozen red chile-pork tamales. I should say, that’s what I thought I bought, she accidentally gave me only six green chile (1 bag) and a dozen and a half (3 bags) of red chile.

tamale night

A few nights before, we enjoyed 6 of the green and 6 of the red, served in the traditional style. That was nice, but to my taste, tamales are a bit dry. So serving the remaining dozen red chile tamales enchilada-style was way more fun!

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January 4, 2016   4 Comments

Kim’s Bruschetta assortment

menu

Kim made a delicious and beautiful assortment of four bruschetta for Marissa’s bridal shower. All flavors in the variety are inspired by the bruschetta menu from ever popular (since its opening in 2001) Postino Wine Cafe. Kim didn’t have recipes to give me, since she just throws these babies together organically and naturally. But don’t worry, I’ve written up recipes for you. There are no specific quantities, make as many or as few as you need.

At Postino, French bread is used as the base and then the slices are cut in half after they are topped. For the shower, Kim used baguettes to make smaller, more individual-sized pieces.

Bread

  • 1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Olive oil
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves, flattened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and bake at 350 just until warm and slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and rub with garlic cloves let cool for a few minutes before topping.

lunch plate

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May 20, 2015   No Comments

Barb’s tart

two tarts

Here is the recipe for Barb’s delicious tart…. enjoy!

arparagus red bell pepper tart

Asparagus and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tart

Pastry

  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and diced
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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May 19, 2015   No Comments

bridal shower recipes

menu

My dear friends, Barb and Kim, made the most delicious food for Marissa’s bridal shower. Kim made four different bruschetta and Barb made a beautiful salad and savory tarts.

I didn’t get any photos of the individual dishes, so I’ll do the best I can cropping from the few buffet photos I do have, my apologies ahead of time because the photos won’t do the recipes justice.

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May 18, 2015   4 Comments

lazy Super Bowl snack

Did you enjoy the Super Bowl? It was very low-key at our house. A few weeks ago, Dave and I received an invite to a party, but we turned it down because we didn’t want to leave Connor and my dad hanging out to dry.

xlix

A few days ago I talked to my dad and was asking what time he wanted to come over and he informed me that he was going to a Super Bowl party! How do you like that? Too funny really. So it was just the three of us chilling at the house all day.

I had some chips and salsa on hand, so that was snack #1. I needed something more but I had no intention of going grocery shopping, so I came up with this tasty treat.

I’d baked a few potatoes the other night and had two left. Plus there was leftover prosciutto and cheese from last weekend’s bridal shower. That’s all it took!

The recipe made 16, I ate 2 of them, the rest quickly disappeared, so I guess the boys really like them!

 prosciutto potato wedges

Prosciutto Wrapped Cheesy Potato Wedges

  • 2 baked potatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 16 pieces of Port Salut or Brie cheese (cut into 2-inch long sticks)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

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February 2, 2015   1 Comment

pine cone cheese ball

Serendipity is one of the coolest things!

I was honored to be asked to provide the wedding day bridal party lunch for my niece, Maureen. Actually this was the second time I had such an honor, I provided the bridal brunch for Mo’s older sister, Katie, who was married in 2010.

The serendipitous part has to do with a certain cheese ball I served at the lunch…

pine cone cheese ball

A week or so before Christmas I had seen an image of a cheese ball, decorated with whole almonds, created to resemble a pine cone. I intended to make it on Christmas day. I had all the ingredients but simply ran out of time.

When I was planning the menu for the bridal lunch, I thought the pine cone cheese ball might be a nice addition.

invite

A few days before we left for Chicago, I received an invitation to the rehearsal dinner. I didn’t make the connection when I saw the pine cones on the invite.

place card

At the rehearsal dinner, I thought the place cards were really cute but still didn’t put two and two together, even though I’d begun to put together the cheese ball earlier that same afternoon.

buffet

I loved how the cheese ball turned out and as I was setting up the lunch buffet it finally dawned on me just how perfectly it fit in with the theme.

mo program

Later that afternoon, at the wedding, when I looked at the wedding program, I just had to smile.  Pine cones were everywhere.

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January 3, 2015   1 Comment

Barb’s Baked Eggs

fresh tomatillos

Barbara Fenzl made the most delicious egg dish for her classes at Les Gourmettes this semester. One of my favorite egg dishes ever – and I love eggs, so that’s saying something!

husk and wash

I made it on Thanksgiving morning. We usually don’t have a big breakfast on turkey day because we generally eat the big feast in the early afternoon. Dave and the kids have the tradition of taking a long hike in the morning to leave me doing what I do best – in peace and quite. Since we weren’t planning to eat dinner until 6:00, I figured that a nice breakfast would be perfect when they returned from their hike.

baked eggs 2 dishes

Before I say that it was perfect, I will admit that I severely undercooked the eggs, so it wasn’t all that it should have been. I used a different type of dish to bake the eggs in than Barb used, and it made a world of difference. My casserole was too deep and the eggs didn’t cook as well as they did in Barb’s shallow flat au gratin dish.

Barb found her individual porcelain au gratin/casserole dishes at Standard Restaurant Supply at 2922 E McDowell Road in Phoenix, they cost $2.50 each. And I found my Le Creuset mini cocottes, which are not great for this egg dish but are adorable and amazing for French onion soup – at Sur La Table. They cost considerably more but did not do the job this time!

One change I made in Barb’s recipe was to replace the 1/2 cup green chilies plus 1 cup water she used with 1 cup of the Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Salsa (that I love so much) plus 1/2 water.

Since I’ve had it both ways, I can honestly say the difference is taste is minimal, so if you have the salsa on hand, use it!

An unplanned and unexpected side benefit for me was that I was only making 5 servings of this for breakfast but the sauce makes enough for 8 servings. I used the leftover green chile sauce in my Turkey Enchiladas with my leftover Thanksgiving bird!

So Good!!! This is going to be my “go to” enchilada sauce from here on out. [Read more →]


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December 3, 2014   3 Comments

roasted vegetable versatility

IMG_4867

Roasted vegetables are one of the most versatile foodstuffs to have on hand.

IMG_4874

Case in point – I roasted up a bunch of vegetables last week for a meeting I had here at the house.

IMG_4919

I used a few cups of the finished product for mini-pita sandwiches, which were devoured between the meeting attendees and my by guys, after the meeting.

roasted vegetable enchiladas

A couple of nights later I used them to make enchiladas for dinner.

vegetable scramble

And all week long, I added them to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

IMG_4896

No need for the sandwich or egg recipes; just stuff mini-pita halves and warm in a skillet before stirring in a couple beaten eggs. The enchilada recipe is below.

The link for how to roast the veggies has three more recipes using roasted vegetables. The only difference in how I roasted them this time, was instead of using olive oil, I sprayed the foil-lined pans with Pam, placed the vegetables on the foil and then sprayed the vegetables again with Pam before seasoning with salt and pepper and placing in the oven.

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September 16, 2014   2 Comments

nom nom nom

Are you looking for a healthy Meatless Monday meal?

meatless

Move along, this recipe is not for you!

This is decadence at its best!

Oh sure, I used chicken breakfast sausage and soy chorizo …  don’t let that fool you, this is not a healthy, low-fat, low-cal recipe. It is deliciousness to the max!

soy

Are you still with me?

Good… Enjoy!

The recipe makes two skillets of Queso. It is best to do this in two small 8-inch cast iron skillets, as it is best eaten hot from the oven.

A larger skillet would allow the queso to cool and harden, which is exactly what we don’t want! It’s best while hot and melty.

queso fundido

Now you don’t have to use cast iron, but look how good it looks! You just need to make sure your skillets are oven-safe, meaning the handle won’t melt. If your skillet is not oven-safe, or if you’re not sure, just wrap the handle with at least 3 layers of foil… now it’s oven-safe and ready to rock and roll!

Assemble both skillets at the same time, cover one and place in the refrigerator until the other is about gone (This is guaranteed to happen within minutes of being placed in front of a hungry group!) then pop the second in the oven.

nom nom

Hungry Queso fans will be hanging around the oven, waiting for it to come out… that’s fine, it takes less than 10 minutes to bake.

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September 15, 2014   2 Comments