Friday, November 17, 2017

Salad Without Lettuce

We like to have a salad with our dinner, and usually it's just lettuce and tomatoes as a base, with whatever else we feel like adding, topped with a favorite Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing. However, today we're out of lettuce. A quick Google search found this recipe which will be the perfect accompaniment for our version of Chilighetti.

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
(adapted by me)

1 can corn (17 oz), drained
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together. Chill a bit before serving.

This was really quite good. We decided the addition of black olives could make it even better, and also that it would be good as a dip/salsa with tortilla chips.

Note: According to what I read, this would probably taste better with fresh ingredients - parsley and lime juice, cherry tomatoes, and corn - especially if it was grilled or roasted. However, I needed a quick recipe using what was already in the kitchen. There just happened to be a ripe avocado in the fridge; lucky us!

Thursday, November 16, 2017


We had some leftover cooked spaghetti, but no spaghetti sauce, and also some enchilada sauce (from here) and as I pondered what to fix for dinner, I was reminded of Chilighetti. It's been years since we've had that so it sounded like the perfect solution.

Today's version will never be duplicated*, but here's another recipe to try next time I feel like having it. This idea of chili on spaghetti is also known as Cincinnati Chili; see here for a history of that dish. Note that when I described what we were having for dinner, there was some skepticism as to how good it would be, which was afterwards proved to be unfounded. So, don't let the "weirdness" of the dish deter you from trying it yourself!

* It included about 1/2 cup leftover marinara sauce and 1/4 cup crumbled sausage from our Pizza Zucchini Boats and about 1 1/2 cups leftover enchilada sauce and 1/4 cup meat from our Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, along with a can of kidney beans and the pasta leftover from the spaghetti we had last week.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Here's another version of stuffed zucchini. (The one we tried earlier this year can be found here.) The inspiration for this version came from here. I didn't try parboiling the zucchini and it was still nice and tender. It's good to know I can skip that step in the future if I want.

Once again, this recipe is really just a process. Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the center. Then chop the "insides" and cook in some oil with a bit of onion. Feel free to add mushrooms or peppers or whatever you desire. This was not a vegetarian recipe, so I also added some sausage. Stir in some marinara sauce and spoon the filling onto the zucchini. Top with Mozarella cheese (omit if eating dairy-free) and pepperoni slices. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Focaccia was the perfect accompaniment. And we had Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars for dessert.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Enchiladas and Sweet Potatoes?

One dairy-free dish Alicia likes is Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; Wayne wasn't sure he'd like that combination. So, we adapted this recipe for our family, and it turned out well. First off, Wayne had his enchilada toppings on a tortilla and ate his sweet potato plain (with butter). I tried the toppings on my sweet potato and they were just fine, although I think I'd prefer the tortilla in the future as well. It's a good thing we don't have to deal with a gluten free diet.

Without Cheese

Danielle's dairy-free sour cream looked quite intriguing and I was interested in trying it. I guess it would never take the place of authentic sour cream, but it was a cool sauce and it won't be difficult to use it up. (Now, how can I use up that jar of nutritional yeast I just bought for this recipe?) I also compared my regular enchilada sauce with the recommended one, and Wayne called my adapted creation a mole sauce. In case you want to recreate our meal, here's the recipe.

With Cheese

Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 sweet potatoes, baked
enchilada sauce (see below)
sour cream (see below)
black olives, sliced
avocado, diced
cheddar cheese, grated (omit for dairy-free)

Brown ground beef with onion, garlic and jalapeno. Season to taste. Spoon over baked sweet potatoes and top with desired toppings.

Dairy-Free Sour Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours, then drained
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in food processer (don't forget to soak the cashews first) and blend until smooth (or at least as smooth as you can get it). Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Enchilada Mole Sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Stir in chicken broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-30 minutes.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Szechwan Shrimp

We've had this recipe before and liked it. I figured it was time to have it again, but we ate it all up before I could take a picture. That means it's still a delicious recipe. (This is my adaptation of the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook.)

Szechwan Shrimp

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoos soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled (okay if already cooked)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Combine first seven ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet. Saute the shrimp if not already cooked, along with the garlic, ginger and green onions. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil to thicken. If using pre-cooked shrimp, add and heat through.

Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles, with sugar snap peas on the side.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Third Drink

We'll need to get a couple of collins glasses for this recipe. I just learned that a collins glass is a tall skinny tumbler that holds about 12 ounces. Did you know that?


2 tablespoons passion fruit juice
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons white grape juice (instead of rum)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla (instead of bourbon)

Shake ingredients and serve in a collins glass over ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

The cast of characters

Wayne: "This is a loser!" The grapefruit juice was pretty overpowering, which meant this was a sour drink. Not our favorite, but I didn't mind it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Non-Dairy Desserts

For the next couple of months we'll be trying to cook without using milk and dairy products. It might be a challenge, but we're looking forwad to that. In case we need to do it again, I figured I'd try to record what worked and what didn't.

Pumpkin Cake - This recipe was called Harvest Pumpkin Brownies, but it's really more of a cake. I did make an optional cream cheese frosting, but this was still delicious with only a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Wacky Cake - This recipe, which has been in our repertoire for decades, is quite similar to the above recipe. We like it with chocolate chips, but in order to be truly non-dairy, it's best to omit those.

Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies - We wanted to make brownies without using butter, and found a recipe here. Since it looks pretty similar to one I use regularly, just substituting coconut oil for butter, I'm confident we'll like them.

Best Brownies - I was reminded that we have a recipe for brownies that uses shortening and not butter. We tried it again and still like it.

Italian Ice - Since we're having spaghetti for dinner, I searched "Italian desserts" for ideas and came across this recipe. Basically puree strawberries with a bit of sugar, honey and lemon juice and a bunch of ice. Freeze, stir, freeze and serve. Sounds not only delicious but healthy as well!

Funfetti Mug Cake - I made these in custard ramekins and used Halloween sprinkles since that holiday is just a couple of days away. (Note to self: black sprinkles don't look very funfetti-like.) I made one with almond milk and three with dairy milk; see if you can tell which is which!

Chocolate Banana Pudding - This recipe is simply bananas mixed with a bit of cocoa powder, coconut butter and non-dairy milk. Next time we have some soft bananas, we'll have to try it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding - We did try this recipe and it was scrumptious! Combine some cornstarch, sugar and cocoa powder - a regular cooked pudding recipe - and then use chocolate almond milk instead of regular milk. After it's come to a boil and thickened, stir in some peanut butter, which apparently is the secret ingredient to make it super creamy. You can find the recipe here.

Banana Snack Bars
- Since chocolate chips apparently do have some dairy in them, we only sprinkled them on part of the pan. Which side do you think I preferred? I'm grateful I don't have a dairy allergy!

German Chocolate Snack Cake - I adapted this recipe to make something quick and easy. First I halved the cake itself (using water instead of coffee) and baked it in an 8x8 square pan. I didn't feel like making the frosting (which had a bunch of cream and sugar) so just sprinkled coconut and pecans (and a few chocolate chips) on top of the batter before baking. The cake itself was nice and light; I really liked it and look forward to having it again, with or without the topping!

Marinara Sauce

I often try recipes that call for marinara sauce (for example - Italian Pork Chops, Pink Pasta and Zucchini Strips) but I don't keep jars of it in our pantry. Usually I'll just open a can of tomato sauce and add some Italian seasoning if I don't have some leftover spaghetti sauce available. Today, though, I went looking for an actual recipe. If we like it, we'll have it again!

Marinara Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced onion (dried okay)
1 can (28 ounces) diced or crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and briefly cook the garlic and onion. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15-30 minutes, or until reduced to desired thickness.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

I love recipes for treats that come together quickly and don't take long to prepare. These might be better after cooling for a while, but hot out of the oven they were delicious. The recipe was adapted from here - an idea I found on Nicala's Pinterest board.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Add the peanut butter and sugar to the melted butter. (I used the same pan in which I melted the butter.) Then stir in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, briefly mixing the dry ingredients together before incorporating into the rest of the mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8" square pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lamb and Rice Casserole

I've posted a couple of recipes for Lamb Curry that we like, but if you have leftover lamb to serve to someone who doesn't care for curry, this is a great option. I felt it had a Shepherd's Pie flavor (which is also an excellent use for leftover lamb) but served with rice instead of potatoes. I combined two recipes (here and here) in order to make it dairy free, and also use up the leftover artichoke hearts in the refrigerator. Mushrooms would be a great addition to this as well.

Leftover Lamb and Rice Casserole

Slice an onion and sauté it with some garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add some mushrooms if desired. Stir in a pound or so of diced lamb and heat through. Add some peas and carrots and artichoke hearts. In another pan combine a can of diced tomatoes and a cup of beef broth. Season with salt and pepper and basil and thyme. Shake 1/4 cup water and 3-4 tablespoons flour together in a jar, then add to the tomatoes and bring to a boil to thicken. Combine with the meat mixture and then with 2-3 cups of cooked rice. Pour into a casserole and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through. Top with grated Parmesan cheese (if dairy-free isn't an issue) and serve.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Raspberry Vinaigrette

I actually made this with blackberry jam, because that's what was opened in the refrigerator, but I'm sure it would be delicious with raspberry jam as well. And it was great on our salad of romaine, turkey, apple, grapes, celery and craisins, which I served with Pumpkin Soup.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons raspberry jam
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Baking

Just to mix things up, sometimes it's nice to try something new. Holidays are good times for experimenting, so when Wayne decided to enter the Halloween dessert contest at work, we turned to Pinterest for ideas and he chose these Peanut Butter Spider Cookies. To make sure they wouldn't be a Pinterest fail, I tried them ahead of time. The reaction of both of my visiting teachers, along with a couple of other people I shared them with, proved that they had the appropriate cuteness factor. They tasted delicious as well, and Wayne brought home the first place prize!  

Prize Winning Spider Cookies

These are really just a process. Make your favorite Peanut Butter Cookie dough. Roll into balls and bake as directed. While baking, unwrap mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. When the cookies come out of the oven, gently press a Reese's upside down on each cookie. Attach edible candy eyes just a few minutes later when the chocolate has melted a bit. Then let cool thoroughly. Pipe on the legs using a tiny frosting tip and black frosting. I discovered Wilton's black food color paste really does turn chocolate frosting black. That's it!

Spooky Cupcakes

For our contribution to the dessert table at our ward's Fall Festival, I tried a couple of other ideas I had pinned earlier. After baking ordinary chocolate cupcakes, I frosted some of them with black frosting, sprinkled black sugar (found in the Wilton aisle) on top and pressed in a couple of M&M's for eyes. On the others I piped white frosting strips (using a flat frosting tip) before adding M&M eyes. I thought they turned out perfectly, and they were actually quite easy to do.

You can read about a couple of other treats we tried this year here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tri-Tip Again

We first tried tri-tip a few months ago. It's a good thing we liked it, because we've had it a few times since then. This version was delicious as well. After browning it, the recipe called for adding some cooked potatoes and a can of cream of mushroom soup, then popping it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Anything with potatoes and mushroom soup and beef ought to be scrumptious, and this was no exception! Rolls and a green vegetable rounded out the meal.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Roast Pork

We've discovered that pork tenderloins are actually a nice cut of meat, and I also realized that I hadn't saved any recipes (except this one) for how to cook it. This one turned out nicely. I used the spice mixture from here (although I cut it down a bit) and the cooking instructions from here (which allowed me to bake some potatoes at the same time).

Sweet and Spicy Roast Pork

1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 two-pound pork tenderloin

Combine the ketchup, vinegar and sugar and set aside. Combine the chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons to the ketchup mixture. Pat the pork dry with paper towels then rub the remaining spice mixture over it. Place in a foil-lined baking pan and bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Turn down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 additional minutes (about 20 minutes per pound) or until an instant read thermometer reads 140 degrees. Let set for 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve with the remaining sauce mixture.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pronto Pancakes

When looking for a pancake recipe this morning, I realized I had never blogged about the recipe I used when I was first married. We had it again so I could take some pictures. I don't remember them being quite so anemic looking - and tasting! Maybe my cooking skills have improved in 35 years!! I'm not sure if it was the lack of sugar in the recipe or the fact that we used almond milk instead of cow's milk, but they didn't brown or even get really fluffy. We'll stick with other recipes we've found that we now like better, but I thought I'd post this anyway for posterity's sake.

Pronto Pancakes

1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine everything in a blender and mix until smooth. Bake on a griddle.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spinach and Sausage Pasta

This new recipe earned an A+. I guess that means we can have it again some day. Wayne also suggested using clams instead of kielbasa. That sounds delicious as well.

Spinach and Sausage Pasta
from this site

6-8 oz. smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic,  minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes w/chiles (Rotel)
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. pasta
3 cups spinach (I used frozen, but you could also use fresh)
1 cup grated cheese (Jack or Mexican blend)
1 green onion, sliced

Brown the sausage, onions, garlic and mushrooms in the oil. Stir in tomatoes and chicken brother. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until done. Stir in the spinach and heat through. Toss with cheese and green onion and serve.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Peach Galette

Toss some sliced fresh peaches with a bit of flour and sugar, pile on a pie crust, dot with butter, fold the ends up and bake for 15 minutes at 425°. If desired, before baking you can brush the crust with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

I just used some extra pastry dough that was in the freezer (from the Chicken Pot Pies); however, making a butter crust (from the inspiration recipe) would probably make this yummy dessert even more delicious. Ice cream helps with that as well!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Carrot Apple Salad

I was running late after errands today, with no time to make some oven fries, and "buy lettuce" got postponed until tomorrow. So, I turned to the internet to come up with a different side dish to serve with our Sloppy Joes. This one looked different and had great reviews, and I really liked it. Wayne liked the "dressing" but he's not a fan of carrots and craisins.

Carrot Apple Slaw

2-3 carrots, grated
1 apple, finely chopped
1/4 cup craisins
1-2 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper taste

Combine everything.

This version added feta cheese to the salad.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tamale Pie

When the kids were younger, we made a recipe called Sombrero Pie, but as I recall that recipe was a bit dry. I went looking for another one and am going to try combining these two: The Filling and The Cornbread. And because I'm making it for a family with a son who can't eat dairy, I'm leaving out the cheese, but you can bet that the one I make for us will definitely include that ingredient!

Sombrero Pie
(The 2017 Version)

For the Filling:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 ccup minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (rinsed)
1 (4 oz.) can green chilis
1 cup corn
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the Cornbread:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To prepare filling, brown ground beef in large skillet with onion and garlic. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add cheese and set aside.

For corn bread, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, eggs and oil; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in cheese.

Generously spray 8-inch baking dish with vegetable oil. Spread half of corn bread mixture into bottom of dish. Top with beef filling and remaining corn bread mixture. Note that this actually made enough for two 8-inch casseroles, maybe because I was combining recipes. One of them had the cornbread mixture on the top and bottom, and the second one only on the top.

Cover and freeze.

To prepare for serving, thaw casserole. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Or to cook from frozen uncover and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until cornbread is browned and filling is bubbly.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Yellow Squash Casserole

Here's another piece of paper that can be thrown away:

And, yes, Yellow Squash Casserole was a delicious recipe. I even bought Ritz crackers especially for this use, although I imagine any cracker or bread crumbs would work. Instead of dolloping little chunks of butter on top (for some reason that's a "chore" I just don't like doing), I added the butter to the cheese and crumbs in the food processor and gave it a quick whirl before sprinkling on the casserole. Much easier!

Personally, I think I liked this better than the recipe we tried last month, but you can try both and give me your verdict.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Green Gazpacho

I've decided that one way to make mealtime interesting is to try new recipes. As a side bonus (or maybe this should be the primary goal), it helps me clean out and even get rid of piles of paper. Here's one we tried this week. Wayne says it can't be called "gazpacho" because it doesn't have tomatoes in it. However, I guess it depends on which dictionary you check:

Oxford: a Spanish-style soup made from tomatoes and other vegetables and spices, served cold.

Merriam-Webster: a spicy soup that is usually made from chopped raw vegetables (such as tomato, onion, pepper, and cucumber) and that is served cold.

Whether it's really gazpacho or not, it was actually pretty good.

And now there's one less piece of paper in our house!
Green Gazpacho (or Spicy Melon Soup)

2-3 cups diced honeydew melon
1 English (seedless) cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings if desired, and chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 4.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce

Maybe next time I'll actually follow the recipe when I try making Chicken with Artichoke Pan Sauce, but after glancing at the recipe in the morning, I made my own version for dinner and it was actually quite delicious. Basically, I sauteéd a couple of boneless chicken breasts, then added some baby corn cobs, artichoke hearts, green onion and peas along with some chicken broth thickened with cornstarch. Served over couscous it was a nice and filling low-calorie dinner.

And the mixed-together leftovers made a great lunch the next day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pork Chops with Chutney Sauce

This week I was planning on pork chops for Sunday dinner, and as usual I was going to be content seasoning them with just some salt and paper. However, Wayne likes things a little fancier and he suggested a chutney sauce of some sort. That's something we've never had, but Google came to the rescue - Pork Chops with Chutney Sauce - and it was actually very good.  We'll definitely have it again some time!

Since I had already baked the potatoes, that's what I served it with; next time we'll have rice.
Chutney Sauce

1/4 cup chicken brother
1/4 cup orange juice
(or 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate and 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon)
1/3 cup mango chutney
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

Combine all ingredients, and pour over two browned pork chops. Heat through.

Combining leftover sauce with some leftover cooked turkey and rice and green beans (hidden at the bottom) made a very delicious lunch bowl.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

It's October, which means we'll be buying a pumpkin later this month, and then cooking it for the freezer. It also means I should probably finish using the pumpkin that's already in there from year's past. We're giving this recipe a try today, but adjusting it to use more pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler
Yield: 4 servings

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves (omit next time)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup very hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, and vanilla together to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter. Pour into a small casserole dish with high sides.

In a separate bowl, stir sugar, brown sugar and pecans together. Spread over the top of the batter evenly. Pour hot water over the entire thing {WITHOUT STIRRING A THING!} and bake for 35 minutes or once the middle is set. {Be sure to place on a baking sheet incase it bubbles over.} Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with more pecans and vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Creamy Burrito Casserole

I used the recipe from here, with a few adaptations. I added corn and sliced olives to the beef and bean mixture. I assembled 2/3 of it as suggested in a baking dish, to give away to a friend. I divided the remaining filling between the last two tortillas, rolled them up on a plate, topped them with the remaining sour cream sauce and heated them in the microwave for our dinner. They turned out great, and were even better with avocado slices and salsa for garnish.

It's really just another way of doing our Tortilla Stack. Another time I might add rice to the mixture as well.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Something Special Zucchini

Every time I've made a zucchini casserole, Wayne is a bit disappointed because it doesn't quite taste like the recipe his mom used. While visiting them this week, she made her zucchini casserole and so I finally discovered the secret ingredient - American cheese! Since I rarely buy that, it's never been in our refrigerator for me to even think about adding to a zucchini casserole. However, maybe someday I'll try this version.

"Something Special" Zucchini

2 medium or 4 small zucchini, diagonally sliced
1 large sweet white onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced (Mom omits these.)
12 sliced American cheese (This is a recipe from Borden.)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

In a buttered shallow 2-quart baking dish, arrange half of the zucchini around the sides and over the bottom of the dish. Add half of the onion, tomato, pepper and 4 of the cheese slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with half the butter. Repeat. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 375 degrees,  the vegetables are tender. Remove foil, top with remaining cheese slices cut diagonally in half, and bake an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese softens. Serves 8.

You'll notice that it says until cheese softens, and not melts! Maybe that's what makes this "something special" - I don't know. I'm actually surprised that Wayne likes this so much, because he really doesn't like American cheese. I might try this once with Cheddar, but if that doesn't match his childhood memory I guess I'll just get some American cheese and try it again. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bridal Cupcake Dress

At the time of her bridal shower, we weren't positive Michelle's actual wedding dress would arrive in time, so when I offered to help bake cupcakes and turned to Pinterest for some ideas, this Cupcake Wedding Dress seemed the perfect choice. 

Classic White Cupcakes
makes about 3 dozen

1 1/2 cups butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 egg whites, beaten
2 cups sour cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
15 Oreo cookies, crumbled

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, then sour cream, milk and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, and add to the creamed mixture. Gently incorporate the cookie crumbs.

I adapted the recipe from this site, with some inspiration from a recipe we've tried before - Cookies and Cream Cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cream

Beat cream cheese and butter together, then mix in remaining ingredients. Adjust cream (or milk) to make the frosting your desired consistency.

Although I liked the ones with white sugar best, the little girls thought the cupcakes with M&M's looked the most delicious!

Thursday, August 17, 2017


When you saw the title, what did you think would be in this recipe? Well, I learned recently of a new type of squash, called Chayote. Apparently it's used in Mexican cooking. And since it's always a good to try new things, we did. You could use this raw in a salad, but I decided to cook it, and that is pretty simple.

Just wash and slice the squash. (I cut it in quarters and removed a bit of the center, like I would cut a pear.) Saute it in a bit of olive oil and butter with some sliced onions. Season with garlic, oregano and salt and pepper.

We used it as a side dish for Jerk Pork and Black Beans and Rice.

Ahi Tuna Again

Giving this recipe a try for our anniversary dinner. Normally we'd have beef steak, but that's been on the menu a bit much this month, so let's see if a fish steak tastes just as great.

Six-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna

Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. (I'm going to add a dash of jerk seasoning.) Marinate 2 ahi tuna steaks in the mixture, for from 10 minutes to over night. Sear in a hot, well-seasoned, cast-iron pan for 2-3 minutes on each side. Slice and serve.

Cucumbers and carrots, along with some teriyaki rice, will round out the meal.

Then we'll switch gears, and have a true-blue American Cherry Pie for dessert!