Archive for the ‘what’s cookin’?’ Category

January 27, 2015

Black Bean Salsa Recipe


Having a vegetarian in the house, I try to prepare things that can stand on their own without meat, but can be spiked with meat for the carnivores in the house. This dish is a perfect example of that and it eats like a meal. You can serve it like a salsa with chips, use it as a topping for burritos or fish tacos, or toss in some marinated, grilled shrimp for some fantastic tostadas!

Black Bean Salsa Recipe

2 cans of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of yellow corn, no salt added, rinsed and drained
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced (less or none depending on your heat tolerance)
3 TBS lime juice
2 TBS white wine vinegar
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a non-metallic container and refrigerate 2-4 hours. Serve with chips or on tostadas, tacos, or burritos.

January 26, 2015

Crock-Pot Mac N’ Cheese Recipe


I love homemade Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve just never had a whole lot of success making it because I always seem to get the roux wrong and the sauce ends up with a grainy texture. I decided to take a stab at making mac n’ cheese without a roux and the recipe below is what I came up with.

It turned out much better than I expected. Even my son, who is a picky eater, asked for seconds. I used orecchiette pasta, which has a starchier consistency than elbow macaroni. I think it helped to thicken up the sauce so you don’t even miss the roux. This one is on my keeper list!

Crock-Pot Mac N’ Cheese Recipe

12 oz Bag of Orecchiette pasta (boiled for 10 minutes and drained)
2 Cups of Milk (heated to almost boiling)
12 oz Evaporated Milk
2 TSP Dijon Mustard
1/2 TSP Onion Powder
1/4 TSP Black Pepper
1/8 TSP Salt
6 OZ American Cheese, cubed
4 OZ Gouda Cheese (shredded)
Optional: 1 cup of Panko for sprinkling on top

Turn crock-pot on high. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Add hot milk, evaporated milk, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper to crock-pot. Wisk well. Add pasta. Cover and cook for 90 minutes. Stir in cheese and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

If you’re like me and have an appreciation for mac n’ cheese with a dark, crunchy topping, after you cook the mac in the crock-pot, transfer it to a casserole dish or individual ramekins, sprinkle the top with a little bit of Panko, and bake in a 400 degree oven on a high rack for about 10 minutes or until the top is browned to your liking. Be sure and lighlty spray the casserole dish or ramekins with non-stick spray so you don’t have issues with getting the mac out.

October 19, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Enchilada Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe. This one was too good not to share! If you and your family like hot wings and mexican food, you have to try this merging of supreme flavor goodness! These are so tasty that when my daugher got an A on a test, she asked if I could make them as her reward. As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and feedback on my blog! If you have friends you think would like this recipe, please share!

Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas!

14.5 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
8 oz Can of Tomato Sauce
½ Cup of Frank’s Red Hot
4 oz Can of Mild Green Chilis
1 Garlic Clove
½ TSP Fresh Ground Pepper
½ TSP Chipotle Chili Powder
4 oz Cream Cheese

Combine ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cook on medium-low until hot, thick and bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Lightly spray 9×12” glass baking pan with non-stick spray and spread about ¾ cup of the cooked sauce evenly to coat the bottom of the pan.

2 Cups of Cooked Chicken (Rotisserie works great)
¼ Cup of Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
¼ Cup Frank’s RedHot
8-10 Corn Tortillas

Shred chicken or cut into bite size pieces. In a bowl, combine chicken, cheese, and Frank’s Red Hot.

Warm tortillas in the microwave until soft, about 30 seconds. Or if you prefer a crunchy texture, fry them in oil for a few minutes on each side, then pat dry with paper towels.

Lay one tortilla in the baking pan, fill center with chicken/cheese mixture. Fold one side over and roll tightly to contain the filling with the seam facing down. Repeat the process until all of the chicken has been used, keeping a small space between each enchilada.

½ Cup of Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
4 oz Bleu Cheese Crumbles
¼ cup Diced White Onion

Pour remaining sauce on the rolled enchiladas and top with the items above. Cook in a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until hot, bubbly and edges start to brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Garnish (optional):
Chopped green onions
Bleu Cheese Crumbles
Sour Cream
Extra Frank’s RedHot

Add some extra pizzazz by serving the enchiladas topped with as many or as few of the items listed above.

June 23, 2014

10 Ways to Spice Up Your Summer BBQ

1. The Perfect Steak

Hands down – the best dry rub I’ve ever tasted! Goes great on any steak. Pictured below on rib-eyes.

Ingredients: 1 TSP Ground Coffee, 1 TSP Paprika, 1 TSP Thyme, 1 TSP Garlic Powder, 1/2 TSP Pepper, 1/2 TSP Sea Salt, Dash or Two of Cayenne Pepper

Instructions: Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to both sides of the steak. Wrap steak in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or in fridge overnight.

Dry rub recipe for steak

2. DIY Baked Beans

Canned baked beans have come a long way since I was a kid, but everything is better when you make it yourself! With 3 different kinds of beans, this recipe really mixes things up.

Ingredients: 1 Can Black Beans, 1 Can Kidney Beans, 1 Can Great Northern Beans, 4 Slices Cooked Bacon, 1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion, 3/4 Cup Ketchup, 1/3 Cup Dark Molasses, 1/3 Cup Water, 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 TSP Tabasco, 1 TBSP Dry Mustard, 1 TSP Thyme.

Instructions: Rinse and drain beans, combine all ingredients in an ovenproof baking dish, cover and cook at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover, stir, and bake 10-15 minutes more.

Homemade baked beans recipe

3. Mexican Street Corn

There’s nothing like fresh corn on the cob in the summertime. It goes great with just about anything you throw on the grill. Add a little south of the border flavor with this recipe from serious eats. If special seasonings are hard to come by in your area, substitute chipotle chili powder for the ancho or guajillo chili powder in their recipe.

mexican street corn recipe
Image: serious eats

4. Amante Picante

I was introduced to this lovely cocktail at Tag restaurant in Denver, Colorado. They were so yummy, I went back a second time a few months later, specifically for the drink! Tip: Increase the spicy factor by adding more Green Tabasco.

Ingredients: 2 Oz Agave Tequila, 1 Oz Lime Juice, 3/4 Oz Agave Nectar, 2 Cucumber Slices, 2 Sprigs Cilantro, 2-3 Dashes Green Tabasco.

Instructions: Muddle cucumber, cilantro, agave nectar, Tabasco and lime juice in a shaker tin. Add tequila and 2 cups of ice. Shake vigorously then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cucumber and cilantro.

Amante Picante recipe

5. Smoke Meat On Your Gas Grill

I own both a charcoal and a gas smoker. Unfortunately, they aren’t very portable. If I want to add smoky flavor to meats when I am cooking away from home, here’s what I do!

Wash out an old can and remove label. Fill halfway with wood chips (mesquite or oak for beef, hickory for pork, apple for pultry or fish). Cover can with lid or foil and poke 3-4 half inch holes to vent. Place can on hot grill and chips should begin smoking in 5-10 minutes. Cook meat as usual, covering whenever possible to keep in the smoke.

How to smoke meat on a gas grill using a tin can
 Image: 120 things in 20 years

6. Jazz Up Store Bought BBQ Sauce

Pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce into a saucepan and simmer with 1/8 Cup Molasses, 2 TBS Brown Sugar, 1/2 TSP of Liquid Smoke, and a dash of Cayenne Pepper. Bull’s-Eye Original makes a fantastic base.

Semi-homemade BBQ sauce recipe


7. Buffalo Chicken Dip

I live in a house full of spice lovers and this dip has long been a favorite. It’s so tasty, I’ve seen people make a sandwich out of it! Not the healthiest choice, but calories don’t count on Super Bowl Sunday, right?

Ingredients: 8 Oz Brick Cream Cheese, 2 Cans Cooked Chicken, 1/2 Cup Bleu Cheese Dressing, 1/2 Cup Frank’s Buffalo Wings Sauce, and 1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Instructions: Combine first 4 ingredients in an ovenproof dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot with crackers and veggies.

Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe


8. Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers

I love making cornbread with cheese and jalapenos. The only problem? Too much cornbread and not enough jalapeno! Enter the Jalapeno Cornbread Popper. Two bites of spicy, cheesy heaven with the perfect amount of cornbread to keep your mouth from completely catching on fire! For ingredients and instructions visit

Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers recipe

9. Easy Homemade Salsa

Once you see how simple and tasty homemade salsa can be, you’ll never be satisfied by jarred salsa again. This recipe uses basic ingredients that I usually have on hand and it whips up in about 5 minutes. You can serve it immediately or let the flavors blend while in the fridge for a couple hours. I like it best when it is slightly cooler than room temperature.

Ingredients: 1 Can Tomato Sauce, Jalapeno, 3 green onions, small handful of fresh cilantro, pinch of chopped garlic, splash of lime juice and dash of pepper.

Instructions: Add tomato sause and jalapeno (1 slice at a time so you can taste and gauge hotness) to blender. When desired hotness is reached (dip a chip in and taste it), add remaining ingredients and pulse until desired consistency.

Easy Homemade Salsa recipe

10. Beef Ribs

Many grocery stores sell beef ribs with a lot of the meat cut off. Don’t waste your money on those bags of bones! Give the butcher your phone number and ask him to call you when they have whole, intact, fresh beef ribs. The best times to score them are around the holidays, when rib roasts go on sale. Once you get your hands on a rack or two, smoke them, slow grill them, oven roast them – but never, ever boil them…please! Your guests will thank you.

How to buy and cook beef ribs

November 5, 2013

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

Looking for a fast, easy dinner idea? Or something to bring along to a potluck? Try my Easy Pasta Salad Recipe! It is always a hit. It is very versatile – you can swap in veggies you have on hand or use your favorite italian dressing instead of basalmic and olive oil. What is your favorite pasta salad? Feel free to share!

Easy Pasta Salad Recipe

8oz Rotini Pasta
1/4 cup jar sun dried tomatoes, rinced and sliced
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds, then halved
1 can whole black olives
1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8oz fresh mozzarella cheese balls
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup of basalmic vinegar
1/8 TSP fresh ground pepper
Cajun Style Andouille, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds, pan seared and cooled (optional)

Cook rotini pasta according to directions. Place cherry or grape tomatoes in a bowl and pour hot pasta water over them to blanch. Rinse pasta with cool water and drain. Combine sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, zucchini, olives, garlic, parmesan, sausage (optional), and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in pasta and mozzarella. Drain hot water from cherry or grape tomatoes and cover with ice water. Wisk olive oil and basalmic vinegar and drizzle over pasta and veggie mixture. Add cherry or grape tomatoes when they are cool. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Serve with crusty bread.

September 15, 2013

Fresh Lime Margarita Recipe

Fresh Lime Margaritas


1 cup gold tequila
3/4 cup Triple Sec
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
6 cups crushed ice
lime wedges for garnish


Stir tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons sugar in pitcher. Add ice. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime wedges. (Salt or sugar the glasses if that’s your thing!)

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