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food = love

A dear friend and neighbor has gone through an especially tough time. I offered to bring dinner over for her family. She tried to say no, but I wouldn’t have it, so we decided that Sunday would be a good day. I brought over an Italian pasta dish and this Mexican dish.

Chicken Tortilla Enchilada Bake

I made another pan of the Mexican dish for our family Sunday meal. I hadn’t planned on putting up a post of it, but after Connor asked for the recipe and another neighbor asked for it too, I decided I’d better get it up here.

Chicken - Tortilla Enchilada Bake

I hadn’t taken any photos, meaning I had to remake it. One problem though – I was out of black beans so I used kidney beans in their place. It’s far better with black beans! I also forgot to add the dollop of sour cream for the photo… it’s tastier with the sour cream too. In other words, don’t rely on the photos, just follow the recipe and you’ll be all good.

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February 24, 2016   1 Comment

BLT-Salad Skewers

It’s not always practical to serve a salad. For instance, at a cocktail party or any occasion where guests will be standing. These colorful and flavor-packed little salad skewers come to the rescue! They are a nice alternative to the standard crudités platter.

lettuce knives

You’ll be using a knife to cut iceberg lettuce. There is an old wives’ tale that warns that using a knife on lettuce will cause the cut edges to quickly turn brown. This is not true. Not if you are using the lettuce within a day or so. All torn or cut lettuce leaves will eventually turn brown, under the same scientific theory that cause an apple or avocado to turn brown after cutting.

Even though you cut the lettuce well ahead of time for this recipe there is no fear of the edges turning brown because the cut pieces are held in ice water to keep them crisp and free of any browning.*

Even so, you’ll see that I do use a hard plastic knife especially made for lettuce. It’s one of the many tools crowding my kitchen drawers and cupboards that former students have given me. I have it, so I use it, but it is in no way a necessity.

*It is important to cut and assemble the lettuce portion of the skewers well ahead of time, not only to crisp the lettuce but because this step of the recipe, although extremely simple, is time-consuming and it is the last thing you’ll want to do at the last-minute.

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February 13, 2016   1 Comment

slow cooker baby back ribs

Today we are kicking off a week’s worth of slow cooker recipes. For this first one, I used a huge package of baby back pork ribs from Costco. It weighs between 8 and 9 pounds and I found that that was a bit too much to fit in my slow cooker.

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As you can see, I cut the slabs in half and one of the halves didn’t fit in.

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I could have wrapped it up and put it in the freezer, but instead I cooked it in some beer, then grilled it and slathered with ready-made BBQ sauce and gave it to Connor for lunch when he stopped by. Perfect!

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Also I tell you to use diced tomatoes, for the ease of it. But if all you have are whole tomatoes (like I did) you can easily cut them right in the can by using your kitchen shears. Easy Peasy!

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To begin with, all you need are these few ingredients.

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Oh, and the can of tomatoes too. I almost forgot! (plus the garlic isn’t pictured, what the heck?!?)

These ribs and scrumptious beans make for a hearty bone-warming winter supper.

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January 28, 2016   1 Comment

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

Bloody Mary Shrimp appetizer

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In keeping with the bridal shower theme of “cocktails and cupcakes” the wine barrel in the entry was decked out with seltzer bottles, cocktail shakers, flowers arranged in silver mint julep cups and ice buckets, and of course, cupcakes.

Today’s recipe was the most popular of the appetizers served at Megan’s Bridal Shower.

spoon appetizer

I’ve been making this appetizer for years in various incarnations. If I remember correctly, it came from Gourmet Magazine some 10 years ago.

You can buy Chinese soup spoons at Asian markets, on Amazon or at Cost Plus World Market.  They are not only perfect for this recipe, but great for all sorts of appetizers and little dessert tastes.

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February 10, 2015   3 Comments

crab cakes for the Patriots

coffee ice cream

I made a themed dinner for Super Bowl Sunday. Crab cakes for New England and coffee ice cream for Seattle.  To be honest, I didn’t make the ice cream, I bought it but it’s the thought that counts and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think “coffee” when the the think Seattle!

smoker

In the recipe, I give you instructions on how to smoke tomatoes on an outdoor grill. I actually used an indoor stove-top smoker that I own and love.

smoke rising

If you like to smoke a variety of foods, it’s a pretty good investment. You can find it HERE. If not, just keep using your grill.

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February 3, 2015   No Comments

wrapped chicken & pear sandwiches

patio menu

The recipe for this second Fall Picnic sandwich is written differently then how I actually made it.

I’m giving you the recipe for the sandwich at its best. I changed it for the picnic by using chipotle mayonnaise and a cilantro dressing instead of plain mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette because I was already using balsamic vinegar on the first sandwich.

It is far better with the balsamic than it was with the cilantro.

wrapped sandwiches

For extra flair and fun, I wrapped and tied the center of the sandwiches with parchment and twine.

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November 21, 2014   No Comments

quick chicken pasta dinner

creamy cajun

We’re on a chicken kick at my house. Boneless skinless chicken breast is what I make for dinner when I’m uninspired. Not that that’s a bad thing.

After all, one can’t be creative and “in the mood” to make a “wow” dinner every night!

Even so, this quick and easy pasta dinner put smiles on the family’s faces.

The best part …. even though the cupboards are quite bare … I had everything on hand and didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

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September 30, 2014   No Comments

roasted vegetable versatility

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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