Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fingerling Potato Chips with Chive Dip

These won't last long. You might want to double the recipe!

I found the original recipe over on the Real Simple website and changed it up.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes
  • Oil, for frying

1. Combine the sour cream, goat cheese, shallot, lemon juice, chives, 1/4 cup of water, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Refrigerate.

2. Use a mandolin to cut the potatoes lengthwise into thin slices.

3. Heat a few cups of oil over medium high heat to 370 F. Working in batches, fry the potatoes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.

4. Serve with the dip.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Puff Balls

These are really easy to put together and they make a nice little appetizer for get-togethers.

Though we used pepperoni, you could substitute cooked Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, or even regular cooked bacon. I think that the next time we make these I might sprinkle a little shredded Parmesan cheese over them the last 5 minutes of baking for an extra kick.

We found the original recipe here.

Makes: 48 little puffs, enough for 16 people as appetizers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 11-13 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 8 oz pepperoni
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 10 1/8 oz packages crescent dinner rolls

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Roll out slightly with a rolling pin and cut each triangle into 3 smaller triangles.

3. Dice the pepperoni.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the pepperoni and cream cheese.

5. Place a small spoonful of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each dough triangle. Roll up the dough and fold in the sides. Place on a cookie sheet (you'll need two).

6. Bake for 11-13 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peep S'mores

Anita loves Peeps. She even has a big stuffed Peep.

This is a fun take on the classic s'mores. Start by putting Peeps on bamboo skewers that have been soaked for 30 minutes.

Char the peeps over a grill, outdoor fire, or use a cook's torch.

Place on Graham crackers with Hershey's chocolate bars. Rest 2-3 minutes to let the chocolate start to melt before serving.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kicked-Up Cracker Jack

These were a big hit. Everyone really loved them!

I found the original recipe here. I used fresh popped popcorn that I popped in my Whirley Pop. You'll want to make your own popcorn versus using microwaved.

Makes: 10-12 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups Spanish redskin peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 t Creole seasoning
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 9 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/4 t baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine the peanuts, pecans, cayenne, Creole seasoning, Worcestershire, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of butter. Spread over baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.

3. Reduce heat to 250 F.

4. Place popcorn in a large bowl. Add the cooled nut mixture. Spread over two baking sheets that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.

5. Place remaining 1/4 cup of butter, sugar, and cane syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir well, then pour over the popcorn and nut mixture. Stir gently with a spatula to cover well.

6. Bake for 1 hour, stopping to stir every 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Texas Burger

Just a little something I threw together the other day. Topped with seasoned tortilla strips, pepperjack cheese, and salsa on grilled Texas toast.

I love salsa on a burger in place of ketchup. It adds a nice kick. The tortilla strips are also great on salads.

Makes: 2 burgers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe

  • 2 small poblano peppers
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (use 75/25 for best results)
  • Montreal steak seasoning (use McCormick's or make your own)
  • 4 slices Texas toast
  • Butter
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 2 slices pepperjack cheese
  • Tortilla strips (see below)

1. Preheat grill. Put peppers on grill and toast on all sides until well charred. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Scrape off char, then cut open and remove seed and stems. Cut into 1" wide strips.

2. Form burger into patties and season. Grill until desired doneness is obtained. Top with cheese.

3. Slather butter on bread and toast on the grill until browned.

4. Assemble burgers, topping with the poblanos, some of the tortilla strips and a few tablespoons of salsa.

For the tortilla strips:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 12 6" tortillas (corn or flour)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Combine oil and spices in a bowl. Brush onto one side of the tortillas, stacking them as you go. Cut into 1/4"-1/2" strips. Place on baking sheets and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mexican Style Shredded Pork

We made up this big ole pork loin roast the other day and found a ton of great ways to use it. It has great flavor, and is tender as can be.

On a grilled pizza...

We used the shredded pork on tacos...

And on baked potatoes!

Makes: A bunch
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 3 lb boneless pork loin roast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 4 oz cans diced green chile peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chipotle sauce

1. Place the roast in a Dutch oven and season with salt.

2. Place chile peppers and garlic on top of roast. Pour in the chipotle sauce and 1/2 cup water. Cover, and cook 7 hours over low heat until meat is falling apart.

3. Remove roast from the slow cooker, let cool a bit and shred with forks. Return pork to the slow cooker, and allow to sit 15 minutes to absorb some of the liquid.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Romano Bread Ribbons

We love these! They look cool, and they're easy.

You can use freshly grated Parmesan instead of Romano, and you can substitute thyme for the rosemary if you wish. The original recipe came from the Pepperidge Farm website.

Makes: 12-18 ribbons
Prep time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/2 of a package of puff pastry (1 sheet)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 T fresh rosemary, chopped (can substitute 2 t of dried)
  • 12-18 bamboo skewers

1. Thaw the puff pastry for about 30-40 minutes. Soak the skewers in water.

2. Preheat oven to 400 F.

3. Lay the pastry sheet out on a flat surface. Using a pizza wheel, cut into strips 1/2"-3/4" in width.

4. Brush one side of the sheet with water and sprinkle with half of the cheese and rosemary. Turn strips over and repeat with remaining cheese and rosemary.

5. Thread ribbons onto skewers (much like putting a curtain on a curtain rod) and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Let set for a few minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cola and Pineapple Glazed Ham

This may be the best ham I've ever had. Ok, so the picture doesn't necessarily conjure up thoughts of a tender, juicy, fantastic tasting ham, but let me tell you, it is.

I will probably not do a ham any other way again. This is definitely my go-to recipe, which I got from the Steamy Kitchen, which almost no changes.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 15 minutes/pound plus 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 6 pound ham (I used a bone-in ham in natural juices)
  • 2 1/2 cups grape juice (I used Welch's), divided
  • 2 1/2 cups Coca Cola, divided
  • 20 oz can of sliced pineapple
  • 2 cups brown sugar

1. Let ham set at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 275 F.

3. Rinse ham and pat dry. Score with a knife in a criss-cross pattern. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Add in 1 1/2 cups of the grape juice and the cola, then add water until the liquid is 1/2" deep. Cover in foil (tightly) and roast for 15 minutes per pound or until center of ham reads 100 F on a quick read thermometer.

4. Meanwhile, add the remaining grape juice and cola, the brown sugar and the liquid from the pineapple to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer 20 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

5. Remove ham from oven. Increase oven temp to 425 F. Drizzle or brush about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the ham. Attach pineapple slices to ham with toothpicks. Return to oven for 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove and let set 15 minutes before carving.

6. Warm the remaining glaze and drizzle over ham slices before serving.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spicy Mac-and-Cheese

We made this dish for a family get-together and it disappeared fast.

Not a lot of kick, but just a little heat. Even some of the kids ate it, which shocked us both. They're more of the Kraft mac-and-cheese crowd. This is definitely not like your boxed mac-and-cheese! I found the original recipe here.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost done
  • 8 oz Cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • 8 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 t all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t dry mustard
  • 1/8 t dried nutmeg
  • 4 T sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 T butter

1 .Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Add the pasta and cheese cubes and mix well.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg, sour cream, heavy cream and half-and-half. Pour over the pasta. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

4. Bake until top starts to brown, about 35 minutes.

5. While the pasta bakes, cut the bread slices into 1/2" sized cubes. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the bread. Cook until browned and crispy. Remove from heat.

6. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta and return to oven for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mango and Avocado Salad

We were very pleasantly surprised as to how great this salad from Sunny Anderson came out. Not because we don't like her recipes. The color from the balsamic vinegar makes you wonder about this salad, but fear not. It's really outstanding.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (use a quality balsamic)
  • 1 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 mangos, cubed (I used 3 small mangos)
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced

1. In a large bowl, add the vinegar, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together.

2. Add in the mango, avocados and onion and toss.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chorizo Garbage Plate

Nothing beats a big ole plate of breakfast for dinner. This great recipe came from Frank's diner in Kenosha, WI. The diner was on a recent episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.

We changed things up just slightly. You can pretty much add whatever you want.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups frozen hash browns
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 lb ground Mexican chorizo
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Brown chorizo in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add one tablespoon oil to the skillet and add the potatoes, onion, green pepper and jalapeño pepper. Mix and cook until the green peppers and onions start to soften, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the chorizo, tomatoes, and eggs. Mix and cook another 3 or so minutes, stirring often.

4. Add the cheese and cook until melted. Mix. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Cheeseburger

These burgers are outstandingly good. The mushroom topping, along with the French fried onions and the smoked cheddar are a great combination.

The original recipe is here.

Makes: 2 burgers*
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 T chives, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 t Montreal steak seasoning (make your own)
  • 4 slices smoked Cheddar cheese
  • 2 large hamburger buns
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup French fried onions

* The original recipe has the mushroom topping divided among four burgers. We really wanted our topping piled high, so we used it on just two burgers and ended up with a little leftover.

1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium saute pan over high heat. Add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms until the mushrooms start to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the remaining oil and the balsamic vinegar. Add broth, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, 5-7 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.

3. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in the mascarpone, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.

4. Preheat grill on high heat.

5. Season beef with steak seasoning and form into 2 patties. Grill until done as desired. Top with smoked cheddar and melt. Remove from grill. Toast buns and remove.

6. Mix Dijon and mayonnaise. Spread on buns. Top with burger. Add French fried onion pieces, followed by a large serving of the mushroom topping. Add bun top and serve.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Red Habanero Restaurant

This new place just opened by our house, in a spot that has housed a few different restaurants over the years. Hopefully this one will last. The food is good, so that's a good start!

They do have another location, about 2 or so miles down 96th, by River Road. The one near us is at 96th and Kincaid.

Red Habanero is a fairly typical Mexican restaurant, with the menu that you would expect. The ingredients were quite fresh, a major plus. Anita ordered the chicken enchiladas with a great cilantro cream sauce and some great refried beans, which seemed homemade. I had the Red Habanero enchiladas, which I really liked. Three enchiladas (beef, chicken and steak), with a great red sauce with a kick. In fact, I've now had it twice. Whatever they use to season their steak, I love it.

Service was decent, as we never run out of drinks or chips and salsa. The music was a little on the loud side, but we were right under a ceiling-mounted speaker.

I hope Red Habanero does well. The staff seems friendly and the food is fresh and good. We certainly plan on returning soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Smoked Sausage Crustless Quiche

Super easy to make, and down-right tasty!

I found the original recipe over on the Hillshire Farm website. I used smoked sausage, but you could substitute chorizo, ham, or whatever you prefer!

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 t dry mustard
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, dry mustard, salt and pepper.

4. Add the sausage, one cup of the cheese, green bell pepper and jalapeño (if using). Mix.

5. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes or until the eggs have set.

6. Sprinkle top of quiche with remaining cheese and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pork Schnitzel Sliders

Super easy to make, and great!

If you use an entire tenderloin (about 3 pounds), you'll end up with a lot of these! Enough for a big party!

Makes: 16 sliders, 8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 8 1/2" thick slices of pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 16 slider rolls (I used whole wheat dinner rolls)
  • 2 lemons
  • Dill pickle slices and mayonnaise, if desired

1. Pound out the tenderloins until thin. Cut each piece in half (bun-sized).

2. Place flour in a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place eggs in another shallow plate and beat in milk.

4. Place bread crumbs in another shallow plate and season with salt and pepper.

5. Working in batches, place pork in flour and cover well. Shake off excess. Next, place in the egg mixture. Shake off excess. Finally, roll in bread crumbs. Transfer to a plate and put in the fridge for 10 minutes.

6. Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan. Add thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes.

7. Working in batches, add the pork and cook over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes per side.

8. Place schnitzels on buns and top with dill pickle slices and mayo, if desired

9. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Root Beer Float

After a few hours working outside in the hot sun, it's time for a frosty root beer float!

I had these all of the time as a kid. I found this mug at the Exit 76 Antique Mall for a couple of bucks. I threw it in the freezer for a bit, then filled it with vanilla ice cream and A&W root beer. It hit the spot!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy Sausage Pasta Bake

This is a great take on an easy recipe. You can use bottled sauce if you want, but I opted to use our favorite red sauce recipe.

We had these with a store-bought jalapeño ciabatta bread.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage (removed from casing if you use links instead)
  • 8 oz dried mini bow tie pasta
  • 4 1/4 cups spaghetti sauce (I used our red sauce recipe and doubled it)
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

3. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Crumble sausage into skillet and cook until done. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

4. Place sauce, sausage, diced tomatoes and one cup of water into the baking dish. Stir in the pasta.

5. Cover dish with foil and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until pasta is tender.

6. Remove foil and sprinkle top of pasta with cheese. Return to oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy Pot Roast with Green Onion Mashed Potatoes

Mmmmmm. Comfort food! This pot roast is so tender and juicy, and the green onion mashed potatoes are so insanely good!

The pot roast is my adaptation of a recipe from Claire Robinson. The mashed potatoes came from the Life's Ambrosia blog.

For the Pot Roast:

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3-5 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 4-5 lb beef bottom round roast
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 6 cups beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Add oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the roast and brown on all sides. Remove.

3. Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the onion and broth and stir. Return the beef to the pot. Bring to a simmer.

5. Cover and place in oven and roast for 3-4 hours (or even more) until the beef is very tender and is starting to fall apart. Remove lid and let roast another 30 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

6. Remove beef to a plate to rest. Take 2 cups of the remaining sauce and place in a blender. Let cool slightly, then puree until smooth. Pour back into Dutch oven and mix.

7. Cut beef into thin slices or bite-sized pieces. Serve with gravy mixture.

For the Green Onion Mashed Potatoes:

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 6 green onions, sliced

1. Place potatoes in large pot of water and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and drain.

2. Place potatoes in large bowl, add butter, and mash with a hand masher or use a hand mixer. Mix in the milk. Next, mix in the buttermilk and green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mustard and Green Onion Potato Salad

This is an excellent potato salad recipe from Bobby Flay. Great warm or cold!

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 3 T whole grain mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 T white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 15-25 minutes or until just getting soft. Do not over cook. Drain well. Cut into 1/4" rounds and place in large bowl with the green onions.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayo, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, garlic, vinegar, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the dressing to the potatoes and mix very gently.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Grilled Greek Peppers

I came across this recipe on an old episode of License To Grill, a grilling show that was once aired on Food Network Canada. The host, Robert Rainford, was quite entertaining and made some awesome grilled food. I wish the show was still on!

I made a few minor changes to the original recipe.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 4 green bell peppers, split lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced

1. Preheat grill to medium.

2. Brush 1 tablespoon of oil on the peppers. Place on a tray with insides facing up.

3. In a small bowl, combine the oregano and the remaining olive oil. Drizzle about half of the mixture over the peppers.

4. Grill peppers, hollow side facing down, for 5 minutes.

5. Flip peppers and divide the cheese and olives between them. Drizzle with the remaining oregano mixture and grill another 5 minutes or until slightly charred.

Friday, April 8, 2011

How to live on a Reduced War Budget pamphlet

I came across this rather interesting piece of history at the Exit 76 Antique mall a few weeks ago. For $2, I had to get it. It's an insight into how folks (and in this case, mostly moms left here while their husbands were off fighting) coped with food and other shortages in World War II.

Remember, nothing counts but victory!

No doubt, those were tough times here. This pamphlet offers up advice on how to manage, with ideas on everything from making clothes last longer to recycling all of your metals. Good ideas even in good items, really.

We recently bought bikes and will soon be making our grocery store treks on them. I'm not sure that we'll be as stylish as the woman above. Well, Anita will be... me, not so much....

You have to love the wordage in some places. Like '... face the situation .... as beautifully as you do everything that requires the courage and resourcefulness that is your heritage'!

We're so used to having so many choices at the grocery store that I'm sure any major shortages here would spark major panic. Let's hope we don't have to go through that again as a nation!

And remember, bad hair days could've cost us the war!

Anyway, it's quite an interesting read. In ways it reminds me of that great movie, Atomic Cafe, which is available in full-length on YouTube, even though the movie is more about the 1950s.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cubano Sandwich

We loved how these sandwiches came out. The best part is the slow-cooked pork, which is so tender and juicy that you could just eat a bowl of it by itself.

I made these sandwiches two different ways. Pressed, and un-pressed. Either way is great.

Makes: 6 sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-5 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 3 lb pork loin
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 6 large rolls or 1 loaf French bread
  • 1/2 lb sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 lb sliced ham
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Dill pickles, sliced thin

1. Place roast in Dutch oven or large pot with salsa and pineapple (with juice). Cook on low about 4 hours or until completely tender.

2. Remove from pot and let cool slightly. Shred meat.

3. Split rolls or bread. Top with cheese and ham and a large serving of the shredded pork.

4. Optionally, press sandwiches on a panini press until cheese starts to melt.

5. Add mustard and pickles and serve.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Bean Soup

This makes a big ole batch of good-tastin', yet easy to make bean soup.

Use spicy V8 and Rotel for an extra kick!

Makes: 10 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can Rotel
  • 1 48 oz bottle V8 vegetable juice
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix (or use 3 T of our taco seasoning mix)
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

1. Brown ground beef in a large pot. Add onions and cook until they start to soften.

2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grilled Chicken Rigatoni Florentine

This makes a really great main dish. You won't be disappointed.

The original recipe came from Patio Daddio BBQ. Check out his blog.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • 12 oz frozen spinach, thawed
  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 2 t garlic salt
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t White pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Mix garlic salt and black pepper. Season chicken pieces. Let sit at room temperature while you pre-heat your grill to medium-high and cook the pasta per box instructions, minus 1-2 minutes (the pasta will cook further when baked).

2. Preheat oven to 350 F.

3. Brush the chicken with one tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Grill until done, about 3 minutes per side.

4. While the pasta is draining, place the spinach on top to let it also drain.

5. Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and remaining vegetable oil. Once hot, add the flour and whisk until it turns blond in color.

6. Reduce heat slightly and add the cream. Bring to a slight boil while whisking continuously.

7. Add the milk, salt, garlic, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg to the pan. Whisk constantly and bring back to a slight boil.

8. Add the cheese and sour cream to the pan let it simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Do not worry if the sauce is a little thin.

9. Cut the chicken into 1/4" pieces and put it into a large bowl. Add the spinach and pasta.

10. Add the sauce to the bowl and gently combine.

11. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour in the pasta mixture and spread out.

12. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.

13. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese shavings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tartar Sauce

Easy, and really, really tasty.

Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T cornichons, diced (can substitute baby dill pickles)
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 T capers
  • 1 t coarse-grained mustard
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the pickles are finely chopped and everything is well mixed, but not pureed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Habanero BBQ Meatloaf Sandwiches

These simple sandwiches don't require any fancy toppings. Just a thick slab of out-of-this-world meatloaf and some good Swiss cheese. Served on a mini-hoagie bun.

This is based on our mini meatloaves recipe.

Makes: 8 sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Printable Recipe

Ingredients for the meatloaf:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 T milk
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 T Montreal Steak Seasoning (see below or use McCormick's)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Russ & Franks Sassy)
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro's Habanero)
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
Ingredients for the sandwiches:

  • 8 mini-sandwich rolls
  • 8 slices good Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. Place onion, celery and green pepper into a blender. Pulse until chopped, but not quite pureed. Squeeze out any excess moisture.

3. Place beef into a large bowl. Add onion mixture.

4. Whisk egg with milk and add to beef, along with the bread crumbs and steak seasoning.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, salsa, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour half of the sauce onto the meat and combine all ingredients well. Reserve the remaining sauce.

6. Spray a 9x13 glass pan with non-stick spray. Add the beef/pork mixture and form into a roll. Spoon remaining sauce over top.

7. Bake 45-60 minutes or until center is done.

8. Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes and then slice into thick pieces. Place over bun bottoms and top with cheese. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with bun tops and serve.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ham and Cheese Pot Pie

These are so good we made them twice in one week.

I got the original recipe from a weekly email from Kraft.

Makes: 2 servings*
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 8oz slice of ham, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli cuts, thawed, drained
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets, thawed, drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 8oz tub chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1/2 of a 14.1 oz refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water
  • 2 10oz ramekins

* This recipe makes 2 10z servings. You can also use 6 oz ramekins to produce 4 smaller servings.

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Combine the ham, cheddar, broccoli, cheddar, and green onions in a large bowl.

3. Microwave the cream cheese until melted. Add to ham mixture and mix.

4. Spray 2 10oz (or 4 6oz) ramekins with non-stick spray. Spoon in ham mixture.

5. Unroll the pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 12" circle. Cut into 2 6 1/2" circles (or 4 5" circles if using 6oz ramekins). Using cookie cutters, cut leaves from remaining dough.

6. Beat egg and water. Brush onto top edges of the ramekins. Top with dough circles and press down along edges.

7. Brush tops with egg wash. Add leaf dough pieces and brush with egg wash. Cut small slits in top.

8. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown8

Friday, April 1, 2011

This bud's for you

Spring has sprung here in Indiana. Well, it did for a few days anyway. Just a few shots from around the yard.