RSS Feed

Tag Archives: recipe

Bacon, Heirloom Tomato, and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

While at the grocery store, I zeroed in on an heirloom tomato display.  I knew I wanted to purchase one, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to make.  I thought about my favorite ingredients – bread, cheese, tomatoes – and decided to make my version of a BLT…minus the “L”.  Grabbing a loaf of artisan piccolo bread, 2 different cheeses, and bacon, I headed home to cook.  I sliced the bread into hearty slices and drizzled with olive oil.  I pan seared them and then added some fig balsamic.  Next step- cheese!  I shredded the main cheese called Ruth Kase Grand Cru (which is a cow’s milk cheese made in Wisconsin and melts wonderfully).  On top, I shredded some pecorino with truffle to add a little flavor twist.  Both cheeses topped the bread, followed by the heirloom tomato slices and bacon.  I added a little cheese in between the layers to help “glue” the sandwich together and cooked in the pan until fully heated through.  That little tomato inspired a delicious sandwich!


  • Heirloom tomato
  • artisan bread
  • variety of cheeses (pick your favorites!)
  • bacon
  • olive oil
  • fig balsamic


Gathering the ingredients

sliced bread

Hearty slices

fig balsamic

Adding the fig balsamic


Layer of cheeses

tomatoes on top

Heirloom tomato slices



cooking up

Grilling it up – it may look burnt, but it’s just the fig balsamic

ready to slice

Ready to slice

ready to eat

Time to dine!


Crab Quesadilla

I treated myself to a fresh Dungeness Crab for dinner the other evening.  It was a really large crab, so I ended up with some delicious lump crab meat left over.  Instead of making crab cakes, I decided to make a crab quesadilla.  I mixed the lump crab meat with my favorite Mexican 2-cheese blend from Tillamook and added some chopped avocado.  After heating the corn tortillas in a medium-hot pan, I added the crab mixture and topped with another tortilla.  I flipped the quesadilla once to ensure the mixture was heated through and the cheese was melted.  Placing the quesadilla onto a cutting board, I used a pizza cutter to slice it into quarters.  The punch of the cheese paired nicely with the sweet crab and avocado.  Delicious!


The ingredients

mixing avocado crab cheese

Mixing the crab, cheese, and avocado

heating tortilla

Heating the tortillas

adding the toppings

Adding the filling

topped with tortilla

Topping with a second tortilla

ready to eat

Ready to eat!

Holy Molcajete! Now that’s Guacamole

Posted on

My friend, Laura, sent me a house warming gift of a granite molcajete.  Last year, she visited me and we went to a restaurant called Oba! where they make table side guacamole using a molcajete.  It was fun to watch as the waiter threw in lots of delicious ingredients and ground them into a creamy, delicious guacamole for us to devour.  I thought I’d try my hand at making my guacamole in my very own molcajete.  I like to keep my guacamole simple so I can savor the rich taste of avocado.  Three simple ingredients:  avocados, garlic, salt.  Add the chips and enjoy!

grinding rice

First steps:  cure the molcajete by grinding uncooked rice

ground after some muscle

Lots of hard work and muscle to grind it into dust, followed by a rinse in hot water

season with salt

Next up:  rock salt

salt inside

Adding the rock salt

salt ground into dust

Ground into a fine salty dust followed by a rinse in hot water


Ripened avocados ready for smashing

avocado chunks

The scooped-out insides of the avocados

adding the garlic

Adding the salt and garlic

creamy goodness

Smashed into creamy goodness

add some chips

Add some chips and dig in!

Lasagna – It’s What’s for New Year’s!

Posted on

Ever since I can remember, my family tradition was to eat Pork and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day.  It was said to bring good luck in the new year.  And once I was married, I carried on the tradition for 13 years.  After the year I have had, I thought it might be time to revisit my tradition for culinary luck in the new year.  This year, I decided to try something new- to select something I like to cook and love to eat.  I chose lasagna.  I used a basic recipe and added some modifications.  I’m not sure it will bring good luck, but I certainly enjoyed eating it!

the ingredients

Gathering the ingredients

rough recipe

The basic recipe

onions and beef

Browning the onions and ground beef

boiling noodles

Boiling the noodles

new pan liner

Trying out a new liner to help with the clean-up

layering the noodles

Layering the noodles

layer of cheeses

Followed by the ricotta and cheeses

ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

done baking

Fully baked

ready to freeze

Packaged individually for the freezer

complete meal

Cheers and Happiness in 2014!


  • 16 pieces of lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce (I used Newman’s Own Sockarooni)
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I used shredded, so I just eyeballed it)
  • Spicy Italian seasoning (*if desired- adds a bit of punch)
  • Reynolds Wrap pan liner (*if desired- it worked well!)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Saute chopped onion until clear.  Brown the beef.  Add spaghetti sauce and heat through.  Line 9 x 13 pan with Reynolds Wrap pan liner if desired.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture in bottom of pan.  Top with 4 pieces of lasagna, overlapping the edges.  Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese and mozzarella/Italian cheeses over pasta.  Sprinkle with Spicy Italian Seasoning.  Cover with 1/4 of sauce mixture.  Repeat layers twice, beginning and ending with the pasta.  Spread the remaining 1/4 sauce mixture on top of pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a final dash of the Spicy Italian Seasoning.  Cover with foil.  Back 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 8 – 10 servings.

What did you do with all that turkey?

Well, I looked at my turkey leftovers and decided to make a version of roll-ups.  I believe the original recipe came from my Mom’s Welcome Wagon cookbook from Central Pennsylvania and was called “Chicken Roll-ups”.  The original recipe uses chicken, cheddar cheese, crescent rolls, and cream of chicken or mushroom soup.  I decided to take a Mexican twist on the original.  I used turkey leftovers with a Pepper Jack/ Cheddar cheese and skipped the soup in favor of guacamole.  How can you go wrong with dough, cheese, and turkey?

pepper jack and cheddar

Tillamook Mexican 2 cheese blend

turkey and mexican cheese

Cut up turkey and cheese

roll out the dough

Crescent roll being rolled flat

fill the dough with turkey cheese

Adding the turkey and cheese filling

rolled and ready to go

Roll-up rolled

pan ready for the oven

Prepped for the oven

baking complete

Freshly baked

plated with guacamole

Roll-ups plated with a side of guacamole


Turkey – cut into small pieces

Mexican 2-cheese shredded (Pepper Jack & Cheddar combo)

Crescent rolls

Side of guacamole (I make my own using only an avocado, minced garlic, and sea salt)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Spray pan with cooking spray
  • Cut up turkey into small pieces and combine with shredded cheese
  • Open crescent rolls and roll each triangle flat
  • Fill crescent roll with turkey/ cheese combo
  • Roll tightly and add to pan
  • Cook for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown
  • Serve with a side of guacamole (and/or salsa)
  • Enjoy!

Chili – Simply Your Way

I have always enjoyed cooking and baking.  Now that I am cooking for one, I find that my enthusiasm isn’t always there.  I have adjusted the way I think about preparing meals and try to select recipes that tolerate freezing the leftovers.  Chili is always one of those recipes that I love making. It goes hand in hand with crisp fall and winter weather just around the corner.  Being the practical cook that I am, I discovered a shortcut that is absolutely delicious and you can customize it to be your very own.  Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit is fantastic.  The kit contains a spice packet, salt packet, cayenne pepper packet, and masa flour (for thickening). I find that the key to cooking is being able to take something – even from a box – and make it your own.  Experiment.  Toss in fresh tomatoes or a jalapeno pepper.  Use tri-colored beans or black beans.  When using a base or kit, it is really easy to alter the flavor each time you make it, yet have the security knowing that it will taste delicious in the end.

My take on chili tonight:

  • sweet Vidalia onion
  • lean ground beef
  • kidney beans
  • grilled frozen corn (cooked and cut from the cob last summer)
  • marinara tomato sauce
  • topped with Mexican cheese
  • side of corn tortillas

chili box

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit

the ingredients

the ingredients

cooking the onion

cooking down the onion

browning the beef

browning the beef

simmering away

simmering away

finished bowl

topped with cheese and a side of tortillas

freeze it flat

Best freezing advice ever – Ziploc freezer bags stack flat in the freezer

Let’s talk about food…

Posted on

I like to cook.  And I LOVE to bake.  On rare occasions I will roll up my sleeves and create a delectable treat from scratch.  On most occasions, I find a way to take shortcuts and add something special to dress it up.  Hopefully this inspires you to do the same.  When you add a little something to a box mix or easy recipe, I find that people respond in such positive ways.  They won’t believe that you used a box because you added a bit of your creativity to it.  Experiment – some will turn out deliciously (like adding butterscotch chips to milk chocolate mix) and others maybe just so-so (like adding mint chips to dark chocolate mix).  We’ll start with my favorite go-to dessert:  Caramel Salted Brownies.

salted caramel brownies

The original Cooking Light Caramel Salted Brownie Recipe

If you click on the link above, Cooking Light will take you through some slightly time consuming steps to make the brownies from scratch.  For the same impact with less exertion, I start with box brownies.  You can use any kind you like – double chocolate, dark chocolate, truffle chocolate, Gluten Free – you name it!  I make the box brownies and then skip to the topping section.  It is a 2-step process, but it is definitely WORTH IT.  I have never received so many compliments as I have for these brownies.

  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons evaporated fat-free milk, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  1. To prepare topping, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons milk; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; stir with a whisk until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over cooled brownies. Let stand 20 minutes or until set.
  2. 4. Combine 2 tablespoons milk and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring after 20 seconds. Stir just until smooth; drizzle over caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt; let stand until set. Cut into squares.

my brownies

My Caramel Salted Brownies (flanked by peanut butter blondies and chocolate walnut brownies)