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Pumpkin spice for breakfast

This year all the craze seems to be pumpkin spice. Not sure I would like it, just sounds, well….strange. We should eat pumpkin pie not drink it right? Have to say I am a changed person. While shopping I saw our favorite milk company had a small pumpkin spice drink ” for a limited time”. I got suckered in and bought some. All I can say is yum. John and I both hand a small glass. At 250 calories per cup…..I think this needs to be rationed. 

Well this morning I poured John an orange juice and said “hey, what about a pumpkin orange drink”? Using half oj and half pumpkin spice milk drink I mixed in a small glass and stirred. Sipped……and Shazam …..tastes like a 50 50 bar with a hit of pumpkin spice. 

Just thought I would share. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Fresh beet salad

Beets are a vegetable you either love or not. It is hard to hide in a dish because of the beautiful color. Yes, there are yellow beets however the red, brilliantly bright colored one works great for this salad. It just pops with the green leaves, burgundy red colors and soft flavor of the dressing. Vegans will love this dish as well. Heck my husband loved it and I will be making it again tonight. 

Beets seem to come in bunches of three; I used one beet and half the beets greens for a batch. It was more than enough for a nice side salad with our meal. I am thinking you could use all the greens, and all the beets to make a larger batch, having left overs for a few days to come. The small amount we had left was excellent the next day. 

  • 1 bunch of beets ( three beets with greens attached)
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 

When you bring the beets home wash the beets and leaves, then cut the tops off the beet bulb and place stems with leaves in a flower vase type container with water. Put in the refrigerator. Pat dry the beets and store the beets in a bag until you are ready to use. 

Dressing: mix the vinegar, oil and salt in a high sided bowl. ( so you do not spill while whipping) with a whisk beat until the oil gets cloudy. Add soy sauce and beet some more, set aside. 

When you are ready to make the salad cut or tear the beet greens into a bowl, you can use some of the stems as well. Peel the beet to remove the outer skin. Then grate the beet on the normal grater side until all the beet is used up. Add to the torn greens, toss with the dressing. I did not use all the dressing, only until coated. I refrigerated the salad while prepping the rest of the dinner. Toss again before serving. 

The remainder was excellent the next day too. The greens were not limp and the flavors held up great. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Refreshing iced tea

Iced tea is not just for summer……unless you live in the New England states. John visited this May and found iced tea was coming back on the menu to be served. Being from California and now Texas that is totally bazar to us, iced tea is a year long drink in these western states.

Figures that close to the end of summer I have come up with a new combination of tea bags, making a refreshing flavorful drink. No sugar is needed but if you desire you can add some. 

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 large family size tea bags ( I use Luzianne) 
  • 1 regular size lemon/ginger flavor bag
  • Cool water to fill pitcher

I heat water in a sauce pan, when it boils I remove from the heat and add the bags. Push down so they get thoroughly soaked. Let sit for thirty minutes. Pour cool water into pitcher, remove teabags from pan and squeeze out. Pour seeped liquid into the pitcher. Add ice to a glass and serve. The lemon ginger adds just a nice hint of freshness for a better than normal cool refreshing glass.

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Green posole

We love stuff with tomatillos. Salsas, chile verde, and sauces. I had never made green posole before, in fact I did not even have a name for it until a high school student said, “oh you’re talking about green posole”. So, I guess it has been made before. This is an easy, tasty dish. Perfect for the upcoming cooler weather; Or even a football night. Just a few ingrediants are needed. But it takes a few hours to cook. 

  • 1/2 bag posole about 1-1 1/2 cups (soak overnight in some salt water) or use the package directions to prep it
  • 8-10 tomatillos 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Cilantro, chopped onion, Jalisco cheese, limes: all for toppers and/or garnish
  • 6 corn tortillas cut into thin strips 
  • Hand blender or regular blender

The night before or in the morning soak the posole in salted water. This will soften it up before cooking begins. Toss that water before using.

Remove outer leafy layer on the tomatillo, quarter them and place in a large sauce pan. Add salt and water, cover and cook over medium to medium high until soft. About 30 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium to large stock style pot add the chicken stock/broth and the posole, turn up the heat to get it to boil, this way it will start to cook. Brown ground pork with cumin. When finished drain and add to posole mixture. Tomatillos should be soft at this point. If you have a wand blender use that to cream the tomatillos, careful it is hot. If not let cool just a bit and place in a blender to cream. Add to posole and pork mixture.Stir then cover and simmer for a few hours or until posole is tender. 

Before serving chop cilantro, onions and break up cheese. Slice the lime for squeezing. Cut the tortillas in thin strips, using your broiler option on the oven place on a cookie sheet then under the broiler tossing with tongs every couple of minutes until nice and golden brown. 

As always we hope you enjoy 

Chipotle pork fingers

I am in a keno group, once a month I try and come up with something different. Having this can of cipotle peppers has been killing me…..since they are not too hot the ladies should like the flavor and not be blown away. (Texans have whimpy mouths). I had ground pork from the pig we had processed, filo dough and frozen spinach. Filo and spinach are always a great base for finger food. So, I came up with this tasty treat. Pretty easy to make especially if you do some prep work earlier in the day or the night before. 

  • 1. 5 pounds ground pork
  • 1 can chipotle peppers
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package filo dough
  • Butter,  pastry brush
  • Small crockpot
  • Dipping sauce if desired  ( I used a yogurt based avocado, cilantro dressing, store bought)

To speed things up for the evening I was going to assemble I prepped the fillings earlier. The frozen spinach I thawed, opened, placed in a colander, then in a bowl. Leaving this in the refrigerator over night helped drain the water out. You will still need to squeeze the spinach in some paper towels or dish cloth to remove excess water before assembly. The pork I quickly browned that morning, grease and all I placed in the crockpot with the can of chipotle peppers and salt. Mix well and cook low for the day. This way all the flavors are blending together. Put filo dough in refrigerator the night before as well. 

To assemble drain water out of spinach. Break apart with a fork or your fingers so it is loose and easy to grab. The colander you used earlier for the spinach you can rinse and use now for the pork. You’ll need another bowl to rest the colander on. Using a  fork squish the peppers that are whole in the crockpot, if there are a few pieces that’s okay, no large ones though. Then with a slotted spoon scoop out pork mixture into colander and drain. You might need a back of a spoon to press on the meat to drain. Prepare filo dough according to package. Oven temp, care of dough, etc. You will need melted butter and a pastry brush. I used five sheets per assembly, buttering each in between. Cut into fourths or sixth, block shape. Scoop a spoonful of meat out (about 1  tablespoon) and place on dough then a good pinch ( 2 teaspoons in size) of spinach. Roll up tight by folding the ends and making it look like a burrito or egg roll. Place on cookie sheet. Brush outsides with butter.  Continue doing this until all meat is used, or you run out of something else. Bake according to package directions, until golden brown. 

These were good without sauce or with. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Chicken stuffed jalapeños 

Sometimes you just need a snack. We were in some intense game playing of backgammon and I did not want to break to make something large for dinner. Plus we had these beautiful peppers… I came up with this easy to make treat. 

  • 6 jalapeño peppers cut lengthwise seeded and viened
  • 1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can chicken drained
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease ( I keep a jar in the refrigerator ) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced roasted garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning ( or something of your favorite spice) 

Heat oven to 400. Add everything but peppers in a bowl. With the back of a folk mush together until thoroughly blended and creamy like. Arrange pepper halves on cookie sheet. Take chicken mixture and shape pepper cavity size, filling each half, packing it in. Use all the mixture for the twelves pieces. Bake for 20 minutes. Move to broiler area and broil for 5-10 minutes until brown on top. 

That’s it. Serve plain or if you must with a dipping sauce. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Tropical rice

You would think the way I have been cooking lately I need a vacation. If you can not get there we can at least eat like we are there. We love rice, I made a fish dish ( in future post) and it needed a side. This turned out wonderful. It has a beautiful light flavor with natural sweetness. 

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 large can hunk pineapple plus the juice
  • 1 can coconut milk

In tall sauce pan mix all ingrediants together. Turn heat up pretty high until it starts to bubble. Stir, cover and reduce heat to medium low, cook 35-45 minutes. About halfway through gently stir rice mixture. Rice will be creamy and light. 

As always we hope you enjoy

Island style meatballs in sweet and sour sauce

Tired of the same old thing? Need some flavor in your meals? This dish will do it. Pretty easy to make, colorful and mouth watering. We had been doing hamburgers on the grill for the holiday and I had about a pound of meat left over. A bit bored with the meat on a bun so I looked to see what we had and thought sweet and sour meatballs. The I imagined how could I improve on the ordinary and make it extraordinary. The meat balls are packed with flavor and are very filling. The vegetables add color and nutrition. 

  • 1 pound Hamburger 
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper…… Or any color of your choice 
  • 1 onion
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2/3 cup rice
  • 1 large can chunk pineapple. Save the juice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Sweet and sour sauce

  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Plus liquid from meat after cooking 

In a bowl mix hamburger and teriyaki sauce, egg then flour after well blended add rice and mix. Form into big walnut size meat balls. You should have about 6-9 meat balls. Fry in a heated skillet until brown on all sides. You should have grease at this point. Pour off the grease. In the same pan add pineapple juice and water. Cover and cook 45 minutes. Gently rolling the meatballs from time to time. 

About half way through the cooking time start the veggies. In an extra large skillet heat oil. Chopping all vegetables into large bite size pieces add to hot oil and stir. Do not add pinapple yet. Cook over medium heat. In a bowl mix the sweet and sour sauce together set aside. Check a rice kernel to make sure it is done or close to it. When vegetables are done to your likeness add pinapple. Stir sweet and sour mixture before pouring  on vegetables. Gently stir. Then add the remain liquid from the meatball pan to the sweet and sour mixture. Stir until it thickens. Add meatballs right before serving. 

As always we hope you enjoy

Kale casserole 

All you need is kale….bomb bomb de bah….. So many types of kale. I am finding the flat leaf type is a bit milder than the curly leaf kind. In making this dish that is what I used but I bet the other would work just fine. This is a great potluck addition or side for a meat dish. 

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 can chicken broth or vegetable if vegetarian
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup short grain white rice
  • Thin cheddar or Colby cheese slices about 6
  • 11×7 baking dish

Heat oven to 350. After washing kale and chopping onion put several leaves on the bottom of baking dish. Now chop up the remaining kale into large pieces. Sprinkle 1/4 cup rice over kale leaves that are in the baking dish, then place handful of kale over the rice, sprinkle 1/4 cup rice over that and repeat again until kale is used up. Having to top layer kale. Pour the broth over the mixture and sprinkle the onions over the top. Place cheese slices in pairs, should take all 6 slices. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 15 more. 
As always we hope you enjoy. 

Easy chicken and cheese with sour cream green sauce

Seems like there always needs to be a story. But after a crazy evening at home my story has left my brain. However, I could say this is an easy meal for a hard day. A few ingrediants is all you need and about 1 hour time from start to finish. 

  • 2 chicken boob halves boneless, skinless
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cans green (Hatch) enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 6 cheese sticks Colby/Jack type combo
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 hot pepper chopped   If desired
  • 1 chopped tomato 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove smashed or chopped garlic
  • 8×8 pan 
  • Skillet and a medium size sauce pan

Heat oven to 350, chop chicken into pieces heat skillet and add oil, add chicken to heated skillet. Heat 1 can of sauce in a sauce pan, add chopped onion. Have it start to boil, then simmer while preparing everything else. When chicken has touch the heat on all sides add pepper, and chopped tomato then cumin and garlic. Unwrap cheese prices. 

Take some of the heated sauce and smear on the bottom of 8×8 pan. Lay your tortillas out place one stick of cheese on each one. The chicken should be done and have juice in it. Drain the juice into the heated sauce mixture, stir. Using a slotted spoon scoop chicken into each tortilla and roll up. Placing it in the pan. Repeat until all chicken is used up. Poor sauce over the dish. Bake for 30-45 minutes until nice and bubbly. 

Heat the remaining can of green sauce. If you want you can add the sour cream to the sauce right before serving or scoop it on after the enchiladas are on your plate. Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. 

As always we hope you enjoy.