Caribbean Marinated Ahi Tuna Steaks

Fish... It’s good for you. It’s not our favorite thing in the world. But, when I saw this recipe on Joelen’s blog, I knew we had to try it. This was delicious!!! By far the favorite fish dish we’ve had. We paired it with a simple yellow rice and had a healthy, filling meal.

Oh & the tuna steak was in the shape of a heart. So cute! Try it out, you’ll love it. J

Caribbean Marinated Ahi Tuna Steaks

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground crushed red pepper chili flakes
4 (4 ounce) tuna steaks

In a large non-reactive dish, mix together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, parsley, garlic, cilantro, and crushed red pepper chili flakes. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat.

Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill or grill pan for high heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. Discard any remaining marinade.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

We love buffalo chicken... But I don’t love how bad it is for you. Rachel Ray has had some great recipes using the flavor of buffalo wings and making it a little less guilty. I’ve already made Buffalo Chicken Soup, and so why not try Rachel's Buffalo Chicken Chili.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds all-white meat ground chicken breast

1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, finely chopped

5 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon smoked paprika (you can substitute with chipotles or chipotle chili powder)

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce, depending on how hot you like it

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (if you have a big can of tomatoes, don't go to the store to get the sauce, it's fine. Just use what you have)

1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 7-ounce bag yellow corn chips

1 7-ounce bag blue corn chips

3/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled, recommended type Maytag Blue

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (a couple of handfuls)

Place a large pot over medium-high heat; add 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and the butter. Once the butter has melted and the pot is hot, add the ground chicken. Brown it, using the back of a wooden spoon to break it up in to small pieces, about 5-6 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf and some salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the hot sauce, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, and bring up to a bubble. Simmer for 8-10 minutes to let the flavors come together.While the chili is simmering, spread the yellow and blue corn chips out on a cookie sheet. Top with the crumbled blue cheese and transfer to the oven to melt the cheese, about 4-5 minutes. If using the broiler, 2-3 minutes should do the trick. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Top each serving of buffalo chicken chili with a few blue cheese-topped corn chips.

Bananaberry Walnut Bread

I had a few bananas that had ripened before I could get to them. So I decided to make banana bread. We also had chopped walnuts & dried blueberries on hand, so why not add them in too. J This recipe is based on this on that I found on with my little additions. Simple enough, but it made it made the house smell delicious!!

Bananaberry Walnut Bread

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

1/2 Cup Butter, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 Cups mashed very ripe bananas

1/2 Cup Buttermilk

1 Tsp Vanilla

2 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp salt

1 Cup chopped walnuts

1/2 Cup dried blueberries


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom & sides of 1 loaf pan

Mix sugar & butter in a large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, & vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt, just until moistened. Mix in nuts & blueberries. Pour into your loaf pan.

Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan and setting on a wire rack to cool completely (about 2 hours)

Sage Meatballs with Gorgonzola Walnut Sauce

So as with most Rachel Ray recipes, this recipe looks like it has about 50 ingredients. Relax, it’s only 19. J I love Rachel but I think her recipes can look a little intimidating due to the long list of ingredients. Well, it’s usually all worth the fuss because her recipes turn out great and if you just try one little thing, it will make it way easier… be your own Sous chef and prep all of your ingredients before you get started. It will make everything move along much smoother. 

Getting back to business… I found this Rachel recipe on Really, the only change I made was making the meatballs from lean ground turkey instead of ground veal.  Cancy & I both thought it turned out pretty good. I hope you like it.

Sage Meatballs with Gorgonzola Walnut Sauce

1 pound gemelli pasta or other short cut pasta


1 pound ground veal

1 egg

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 to 8 sage leaves, finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons

1/2 cup bread crumbs, a couple of handfuls

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it

Ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup cream

1 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled

3 to 4 cups (1 bunch) arugula or baby spinach, cleaned and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place water on to boil for pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt the water and cook pasta to al dente. Drain.

While pasta is working, place veal in a mixing bowl and add to it the egg, garlic, sage, bread crumbs, cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl, mix and roll small 1-inch balls. Arrange balls in a single layer on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes in a hot oven until meat is golden and firm.

Toast the walnuts and place them into a food processor. Grind the walnuts and reserve.

In a deep skillet over medium heat melt butter. Whisk flour into butter and cook a minute then whisk in wine and reduce by half. Whisk in stock, when it bubbles and begins to reduce, stir in the cream and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer to thicken the sauce a bit, 2 to 3 minutes, melt in the Gorgonzola and stir in the ground walnuts then season the sauce with pepper, to taste, and maybe a pinch of salt.

Shred the greens into thin strips.

Toss the pasta with the sauce. Serve pasta garnished and topped with a generous mound of greens to mix in as you are eating.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Pops / Cake Balls

I’ve made Red Velvet cake balls before and they were delicious so I wanted to try it again. So instead of Red Velvet, I decided to use my favorite combination of flavors and go for chocolate & peanut butter. Yum! And also for something a little different, I wanted to try them as cake pops instead of just cake balls. You’ll get the full details of the cake pop process from Bakerella’s site. Below is my short & sweet how-to...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Pops / Cake Balls

1 box chocolate cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)

1 can chocolate frosting (16 oz.)

1 package chocolate Wilton Peanut butter melting chips

wax paper

Wilton Lollipop stocks


After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

Mix thoroughly with 1 can chocolate frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)

Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper, but I like to hand roll them.)

Chill for about 15 minutes before putting a Wilton lollipop stick in,

Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

Melt peanut butter melting chips in microwave per directions on package.

Roll balls in melted peanut butter chips and lay on wax paper until firm. (It’s easiest if you hold the stick and use to twist into the melted peanut butter and then tap off extra.)


Bavarian Style Cinnamon Walnuts

I wasted no time on this one. I saw this recipe from Joelen pop up in my Google Reader, & I think it was about 5 minutes later; I had walnuts in the oven making the house smell delicious. Oh and the taste? They are wonderful.

Bavarian Style Cinnamon Walnuts

2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecans halves, divided (I used walnuts)

2 quart sized resealable bags

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the egg whites, vanilla and water. Whisk until frothy and place in 1 resealable bag.

In the other resealable bag, combine the sugars, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix thoroughly to fully combine.

Place 1 cup of pecans in the egg white mixture. Seal bag and toss to coat. Remove only pecan halves and place in a medium bowl. Be sure to keep any remaining egg white in the bag.

Coat the remaining pecans with the egg white mixture in the sealable bag and set aside in the bowl.

Place 1 cup of the egg white coated pecans in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Seal bag and toss to coat. Remove pecan halves and place in a medium bowl. Be sure to keep any remaining sugar in the bag.

Coat the remaining pecans with the cinnamon sugar mixture in the resealable bag and set aside in the bowl.

Pour any remaining cinnamon sugar mixture from the resealable bag into the bowl of nuts.
Stir all the nuts once more in the bowl to thoroughly coat.

Place coated pecans on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour - stirring every 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container. 

Taco Chicken with Spanish Rice

Another yummy recipe from the grocery store. Who would’ve thought?

HEB’s Showtime ad usually has some good recipe ideas. Especially good recipes ideas when it comes to a busy weeknight. I put this recipe together in all of 10 minutes.  It was a pretty tasty combination and we served it up with some black beans.


Taco Chicken with Spanish Rice

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2  jar (7 ounce) Green Chile Salsa

2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1 pkg. (1 1/4ounce) taco Seasoning Mix, divided

2 large chicken breasts

1 bag (16 oz.) Spanish Rice (I cheated and used steamable Spanish Rice from my grocery store. If you can’t find that, just make any Spanish Rice)

Combine sour cream, salsa, cilantro and one teaspoon taco seasoning mix in a bowl; stirring well. Cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired.

Toss chicken with remaining taco seasoning mix.

Cook chicken in a large non-stick skillet coated with vegetable spray over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until done.

** I added some lime juice while the chicken was cooking for an extra little layer of flavor.

Serve immediately with Spanish rice and seasoned sour cream dip.

Hatch White Chicken Chili with a shot of Jose

It was feeling like winter earlier this week in Central Texas. No better time to make chili. I made a red chili not too long ago and remembered having white chicken chili when we lived in Minnesota. So this is my version using Hatch green chile peppers (which are a favorite among most in Central Texas). Also, I added a shot of Tequila to this recipe to give it a little bit of a kick. Enjoy!!

 Hatch White Chicken Chili with a shot of Jose


1 pound of chicken (I used fajita marinated chicken from the grocery store)

3 hatch chile peppers, seeded & diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded & diced

2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 14.5 oz can of white Northern beans

1 shot of tequila

Juice of 1 lime

4 Cups (1 box) of chicken stock

4 oz of Cream cheese (I use fat free cream cheese)

1/2 Cup Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2


Cook chicken until no longer pink. Set aside to cool. Chop into bite sized pieces.


In the same pan, over medium-high heat sauté the onion, garlic, & peppers until the onions are soft & translucent. Add beans. Add chicken back into pan and stir to combine.


Pour tequila & lime juice into pan, stirring mixture to coat. Add chicken broth and raise heat to high just until boiling. Turn to a low simmer and add cream cheese by breaking up into small pieces as you put in the pan. Stir and continue to simmer, covered for at least 15 minutes.


Add 1/2 & 1/2 and stir through. Keep on heat for another 5 minutes before serving.


Once soup is in the bowl, you can top with avocado, shredded cheese, or a crumbling of tortilla chips.


Saltine Toffee

Easiest Holiday Treat Ever.


I saved this recipe from Joelen as soon as I saw it. It doesn’t really get much easier than this to have a nice little holiday treat to share. I took some to work today and people were loving it. It’s crazy how 4 simple ingredients take on a life of their own in this great tasting mock-tofee treat.

Saltine Toffee

1 stick butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
saltines - enough to line your baking sheet
1-2 cups semi chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left the nuts out this time)

Preheat oven to 400. Line your baking sheet with foil.

Neatly place saltines on the foil lined baking sheet.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and add brown sugar. Allow butter and sugar to caramelize and boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture over the saltines and spread it around to cover evenly.

Bake saltines in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the saltines. Allow it to rest for 2 minutes - enough for chocolate chips to melt. Using a rubber spatula or spreader, spread the melted chocolate over the saltines to evenly coat. Sprinkle the top with chopped nuts. Refrigerate to harden the chocolate. Break into random pieces.



Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I wanted something easy for dinner last night and we had some Boboli pizza crusts in the freezer. So this is sort of a use-what-you-have-on-hand type of meal that goes together pretty quickly.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

2 Chicken Breast, cooked & cut into bite sized pieces
2 premade Pizza Crusts (I used Boboli personal sized)
1 cup prepared low-fat Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup of bacon bits
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Place two oven racks in bottom half of oven. Place crusts on baking sheets or round pizza pans.

Spread 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce over each pizza crust. Sprinkle each with 1/4 Cup of bacon bits. Layer chicken on top of that and sprinkle with black pepper. Top with grated Parmesan.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and begins to brown. Rotate pizzas on oven racks halfway through baking, if necessary, to ensure even browning.

Twice-Baked Tex-Mex Potato

This recipe comes from Whole Foods. They have a lot of great recipes on their site, and this one is no exception. These are very filling. One potato will easily serve two people. When I was at Whole Foods this past weekend, I bought a few cilantro chicken sausages. I cooked and sliced one up and added it to the top before sprinkling the cheese on. This is a really tasty weeknight dinner that’s super easy to prepare.

Twice-Baked Tex-Mex Potato

1 (10- to 12-ounce) Russet potato
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup canned refried pinto beans, warm ( I used fat free beans)
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese ( I used low-fat Mexican blend)
Fresh salsa
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick potato all over with a fork and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake until just tender, about 1 hour; set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, preheat broiler.

Cut open potato and scoop about 1/2 cup of the cooked flesh into a medium bowl. Add sour cream, beans, salt and cumin and mash with a fork to combine. Use bean mixture to refill potato, then top with cheese and return to baking sheet or place in a small baking dish. Broil until cheese is melted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Top with salsa and green onions and serve.

Honey Yeast Rolls

I have a confession. For as much as I enjoy cooking, baking terrifies me. Always has... Yeah sure I’ll bake up some cookies or throw a boxed cake mix in the oven, but baking? With yeast? Oh no, no, no.

Well, no more. I followed Annie’s directions to a T and made the most delicious Honey Yeast Rolls. They made the house small amazing, they tasted wonderful, and now… Now I just may bake more often.

Honey Yeast Rolls

2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 cup warm water (105°-115° F)
¼ cup honey
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups bread flour
vegetable cooking spray
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp honey

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast and warm water.  Add the honey, oil, salt, and egg and mix well.  Add 3 cups of the flour and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass.  With the mixer on low speed, add the remaining 1 cup flour and mix until it is incorporated into the dough.  Switch to the dough hook, and continue kneading on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Punch the dough down and divide into 12 equal portions.  Shape each portion into a ball and place into a round, lightly greased baking dish, spacing evenly.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 20 minutes.  Mix together the melted butter and honey, and brush lightly over the tops of the rolls.  Bake at 400° for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

I’m not sure why, but I was really craving lamb this weekend. Maybe it was because we just had great lamb @ Fogo De Chao for Cancy’s birthday…. Or maybe I was just having a carnivorous moment. In any case, Katie has a great recipe that I used for the marinade, but I made mine in the crockpot instead of roasting in the oven. I hope you like it.

Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust

6 Tbsp crush dried assorted peppercorns
4 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves (I omitted)
10 garlic cloves
1/4 c. raspberry vinegar
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 c. dry red wine
2 boned leg of lamb (I used a shoulder roast instead)
4 Tbsp dijon mustard (I omitted)
2-4 Tbsp flour

In a large baking dish, combine 2 Tbsp crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and red wine. Add the lamb and turn to coat with the marinade.
Marinate the lamb, covered, in the fridge 8-12 hours, turning occasionally.


Set the roast in a CrockPot and pour 1 c. of the reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast; discard remaining marinade.

Cook in low for 6-7 hours (depending on the size of the cut of lamb)
Remove roast from pan, and cover with foil to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Over medium heat, heat pan juices, adding 2-4 Tbsp flour to thicken, and serve over lamb slices to serve.

I drizzled just a little of the pan juices on it and sprinkled with some reduced fat Feta cheese. Also, because the lamb itself is a pretty rich piece of meat, I served this with a little bit of homemade Tsatziki to balance it out.


Remove lamb from the marinade and drain, reserve the marinade. Roll the roast, tying with kitchen twine. Pat 2 Tbsp of crushed peppercorns into the lamb


Sushi Bowls

If there is one type of food that Cancy & I absolutely agree on every time it’s sushi. We have a habit of going to Beluga’s (our favorite local sushi place) about twice a week. We love everything/everyone there.

This weekend though, I decided to try my own sushi. I had this recipe star’d in my Google Reader from The Way The Cookie Crumbles. I grabbed some fresh Yellowfin Tuna and began my experiment. It was actually really good. J All of the sushi flavors in a bowl. How easy & inexpensive. Be brave. Try it out.

Sushi Bowls

1 cup sushi rice, rinsed well (this will turn out best with real sushi rice instead of just regular white or brown. It should be found at your supermarket)
¼ cup soy sauce
wasabi to taste
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 (8 by 7-inch) sheets nori, cut into strips 1½ inches long and ⅛ inch wide
1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and cut into chunks 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks 1½ inches long and ⅛ inch wide
4 green onions, halved lengthwise and cut into strips 1 inch long
8 ounces sushi-grade fish, preferably tuna
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted

Rinse the rice. Place the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and wasabi in a small bowl. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a separate small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds, until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold and cut thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Fan until rice is near room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

Combine rice, wasabi mixture, and remaining ingredients. Serve.

Oven-Fried Honey Chicken Nuggets

This was inspired by Brooke’s Oven-Fried Honey Chicken. I had some chicken tenders to use up and decided to make chicken nuggets out of them. We had these with Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese and green beans. Sort of a grown up kiddie meal, I guess. It was a really easy & fast weeknight meal.

Oven-Fried Honey Chicken Nuggets

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs (I used Panko bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I used cooking spray)
1 pkg/1 pound fresh boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into bite sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 375°F.In shallow bowl, whisk together honey and vinegar. Pour bread crumbs into separated bowl. Set bowls aside. Spread oil over foil-lined baking pan large enough to hold all chicken pieces in one layer. Roll chicken pieces in honey mixture, then in bread crumbs; place in pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.


Pork Chops with Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

And another winning recipe from Elly. I’ve yet to try a recipe of hers that comes out anything less delicious. Here is the link to the original recipe and here is the link to Elly’s new site.

This was a great combination of flavors that goes together really easily. I promise you’ll like it. We did.

Pork Chops with Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms


2 pork chops
1 oz. shredded or sliced smoked gouda
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 yellow or vidalia onion, cut in half and sliced
2 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. dry sherry or marsala
1/3 cup beef broth
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice a pocket into each pork chop and fill it with the gouda. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Sear the pork chops for about a minute per side, just to brown them. Move the chops to a baking dish and cook in the oven until just slightly underdone.

Meanwhile, melt the butter to the skillet in which you pan-fried the chops, over low heat. Stir in the onions and thyme and cook over low heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally--about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the sherry. Scrape up all the browned  bits from the bottom of the pan and cook until the sherry is almost completely evaporated, a couple minutes. Stir in the broth and cook it for another couple minutes to reduce it, slightly, too. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pork chops back into the skillet, spooning the onions and sauce over them. Place the skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the pork chops have cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Frito Salad

This recipe came from a blog called “My Baking Heart”. She posted this recipe and I’ve had it save for ages now and finally decided it was time to try it. The Fritos have got to be a Texas thing. I’ve never cooked with them before moving here. Cancy is a huge fan of Frito Pie (we might make & post that sometime soon), but then this Frito Salad recipe came up and Cancy said he remembers eating something like this when he was younger. It must be a Southern thing. So grab yourself a bag of Fritos and serve up a really easy, quick weeknight dinner.

Frito Salad

1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
1 can corn, drained
2 tomatoes, chopped (remove seeds & juice)
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 sm. bottle fat-free Catalina dressing
1 sm. bag of original Fritos
1/2 lb. cooked hamburger (optional - I used it this time)
shredded lettuce
shredded carrots (I didn’t use any carrots)
shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Top with fat-free sour cream if desired.


Spicy Black Bean Soup with Limed Up Shrimp

This soup is another recipe out of Rachel Ray’s Express Lane cooking. I did the ingredients and directions exactly as it appears in the book so be prepared for a very long recipe. The soup & shrimp tasted great, although my shrimp didn’t stand up on the soup for a picture. They somewhat floated, but I guess our bowls are too deep? Anyway, the taste is what’s important and this soup has a great flavor. It’s nice for a chilly evening. I hope you like it.

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Limed Up Shrimp

5 Tbsp EVOO

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 Tbps chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt & black pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Zest & juice of 2 limes

1/4 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, & butterflied

2 14 oz cans black beans, rinsed & drained

1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes

5 Cups chicken stock

1/2 Cup Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2

Hot Sauce, to taste

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 Tbps of the EVOO (twice around the pan). Add the onions, three fourths of the garlic, the chili powder, cumin, salt, & pepper. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender, stirring frequently.

While the onions are cooking, in a shallow dish combine the remaining garlic, the remaining 3 Tbps of EVOO, the red pepper flakes, lime zest, parsley, & a little salt. Add the shrimp and coat them thoroughly in the mixture. Let the shrimp sit while you move forward with the spicy black bean soup.

Add the black beans to the skillet with the onions. With a potato masher or the back of a rubber spatula, smash the equivalent of half of the beans – the mashed-up beans will thicken the soup. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, and heavy cream (or Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2) to the pot, stir, and turn the heat up a bit to bring the soup to a bubble. Once at a bubble, turn the heat back down to a simmer and let it cook for 10-12 minutes. Give the pot a stir every now & then to ensure that it’s not sticking.

While the soup is simmering, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the shrimp & cook them for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Flip the shrimp, add the lime juice, and continue to cook them for 2-3 more minutes or until the shrimp are opaque.

Taste the soup & adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, & hot sauce. To serve it, place a few ladles full of the spicy black bean soup in shallow soup bowls, and arrange 4 shrimp standing up in the center of each bowl.

Margarita Cupcakes

This was the end of our little dinner date with Cody & Carol. Everything else that evening had a little Tex-Mex to it so why not top it off with Margarita CupCakes. This is one of Brooke’s recipes that has been in Google Reader for awhile now. This was the first time I’ve ever made my own frosting and let me tell you, they turned out great!! I hope you like them.

Margarita Cupcakes

9 oz Margarita mix
3 oz tequila
3/4 oz Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur) (I omitted
White cake mix (No-pudding mix works best)
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp lime zest
1 recipe Lime Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)

Mix together the margarita mix, tequila, and Grand Marnier in a large glass or spouted bowl. You will use 1 1/4 cup of this in the cupcake mix. Put the remainder in the fridge to chill and then consume how you see fit. (I just use 1 1/4 cup of the margarita mix.)
In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest, and 1 1/4 cup of the margarita mixture. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for two minutes (the batter will still be a bit lumpy).

Spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 full) and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the frosting for the cupcakes.

Lime Buttercream
3 cups + 3 Tbsp cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lime juice
green food color (optional)

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, food coloring, and lime juice to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy. Add the icing to a pastry bag or use a spatula/knife to frost the cupcakes.
Note: Use additional lime juice or water to thin the frosting, if necessary. (I needed several additional squirts of lime juice to make them lime-y enough)

Black Beans with Corn and Rotel

This recipe comes from Janae. It seemed like a great side to the Lemon chicken with Guacamole Sauce that we made the other night. This is a good way to use any veggies you might have in the fridge and gives you kind of a nice Southwestern flair.

Black Beans with Corn and Rotel

Cooking spray
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup fresh corn (1 ear of corn)
1/8 cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red or green bell pepper
3/4 cup diced red onion
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
½ T chopped fresh (or dried) oregano
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 (19-ounce) drained can black beans

Heat cooking spray in a skillet on Medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, green (or red) bell pepper and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add corn; sauté 8 minutes or until browned.

Next add the lime juice, all of the seasonings, jalapeño, Rotel, and Black Beans. Cook for about 10 more minutes on Med-Low heat.

Lastly, add the chopped cilantro (to garnish).


Lemon Chicken with Guacamole Sauce

We had Cody & Carol over this week for dinner & a movie. I have been wanting to try this recipe for awhile and our little dinner party seemed to be the perfect time. The chicken was perfect. If you can, I definitely recommend marinating overnight. I added just a little Cilantro to the Avocado sauce and it fit in perfectly. Thanks to Janae for a great recipe.

Lemon Chicken with Guacamole Sauce  


juice of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 chicken breasts, about 7 oz each
1 large tomatoes, chopped
Salt and black pepper

For the Sauce:
1 ripe avocado
4 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and a little pepper in a bowl. Stir to mix.

Arrange the chicken breasts, in one layer, in a shallow dish. Pour over the lemon mixture and turn to coat evenly. Cover and leave to stand for at least 1 hr at room temperature, or chill overnight.
To make the sauce, halve the avocado, remove the stone and scrap the flesh into a food processor. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and salt and process until smooth. Add the water and process just to blend. If necessary, add a little more water to thin the sauce. Transfer to a bowl, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside in a cool place.

Preheat the broiler or grill & add the chicken breasts. Cook for about 10 minutes or until it is no longer pink in the center.

Serve with a chicken breast, a dollop of avocado sauce, and some diced tomatoes.


South of the Border Casserole

This one’s been in my Google Reader for quite some time now. I found it on Taste of Home Cooking . Her site is full of good ideas. It was a super easy casserole to make and you don’t have to use the oven. Enjoy!!

South of the Border Casserole

1 pound of lean ground beef
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed from half, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
28 ounce can of whole tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes, if you can find them)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sour cream
8 oz penne, ziti or any small pasta
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cilantro, minced

In a large deep skillet, brown meat until no longer pink. Drain fat, if necessary. Add the olive oil, peppers, onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium-high heat. Sauté until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin. Add the can of tomatoes, breaking up the whole tomatoes with a spoon, but still leaving big chunks. Add sour cream, stir until mixed. Add pasta. Cover and cook until pasta is al dente, about 25 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently so the pasta doesn't get stuck to the bottom. Serve with the cheddar cheese and cilantro sprinkled on top.


Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken

This is a super easy recipe, but I’ll warn you that it’s not very photogenic. It definitely tastes much better than it looked. The teriyaki & ranch makes for a really interesting combination of flavors. It’s a good Crockpot experiment. I found this on …and a cookie for dessert. It originated from the blog, A year Of Crockpotting.

Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
12 pieces cooked and crumbled bacon (I used 6)
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch salad dressing (I used fat free)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( I used low fat cheese)

Place the chicken in the Crockpot. In a small bowl, combine the teriyaki sauce and the ranch dressing. Pour sauce over the top of the chicken. Add the shredded cheese and the crumbled bacon to the Crockpot, getting between the chicken pieces, if you can.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Zucchini Cakes

Another winner from Pioneer Woman. This time it comes from Pastor Ryan (one of her guest bloggers). What an easy side dish and a very tasty way to use a zucchini. We had this as the side dish to our tuna pasta casserole and felt very deliciosly full afterwards.

Zucchini Cakes

1 large Zucchini

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1/2 - 3/4 Cup of bread crumbs

1/2 Cup 4-Cheese Italian Blend shredded cheese (or Parmesan or Romano)

2 eggs

Kosher salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Olive Oil

Wash & cut the ends off of one large Zucchini. Shred it using the large holes of a cheese grater. Squeeze the shredded zucchini inside of a clean towel until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible.

Place shredded zucchini into a medium sized bowl. Add minced garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, and Salt & Pepper to taste. Stir with a fork until well mixed.

Heat Olive Oil (about 1/4 inch deep in the bottom of skillet) to a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, drop a glob of zucchini batter into the skillet and flatten it a bit. After about two minutes, turn the cakes over (they should be a nice golden brown) and cook on the other side until done.

You could dip these in whatever you like. We had them with just a sprinkling of sea salt.

Tuna Pasta Casserole

Thanks again to my grocery store for another simple, but really good recipe. I only made a few slight additions to this recipe and felt it was perfect. We don’t do a lot of casseroles around here so I felt very Paula Deen while making this. Cancy really seemed to like it though, so consider just a good old southern casserole.

Tuna Pasta Casserole

1 (12 oz.) package small pasta or noodles

1 (10 3/4 oz.) can Cambell´s cream of mushroom soup

1 (12 oz.) can Albacore tuna, drained

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup frozen peas (not in original recipe)

1/2 Cup Low Fat Mayo (not in original recipe)

1 Tbps red pepper flakes (not in original recipe)

1/2 cup potato chips, crushed

1/4 teaspoon paprika or crushed red pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, combine mushroom soup, tuna, evaporated milk, shredded cheese, onions, peas, mayo, and red pepper flakes. Add cooked and drained pasta and toss to combine.

Evenly spread tuna pasta casserole into prepared baking dish. Top casserole with crushed potato chips and paprika. Bake casserole on the middle oven rack for 20 to 30 minutes.


Manly Beer Chili

This is a version of chili that I made last week. Usually with chili, I just throw in whatever. It’s different every time. This time, I wanted to use a can of Modelo beer that we had in the fridge. I’m not quite sure how it got there, but this was a tasty way to get rid of it.

Manly Beer Chili

1/2 pound beef stew meat

1/2 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 cans of beans, I used Ranch Style pinto beans & Bush’s Chili beans

1 28oz can of whole, stewed tomatoes

1 can of beer

Seasonings ( I used salt & pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, chile powder, and some Frank’s Red Hot)

Brown the meats until done, remove from the pan. Drain off any remaining grease. In same pan, cook the chopped onion & pepper until soft. You may need to add some Olive Oil here. Salt & pepper the vegetables and remove once done, but keep pan on medium heat.

Add the can of beer and cook until reduced by about half. Once beer has reduced, the meat and vegetables back to the pot. Empty in the cans of beans & add the can of tomatoes.

Season to taste (for us, the spicier, the better). Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for at least an hour. You may need to re-season before serving.

When ready to eat, feel free to top your chili with whatever you choose. We usually do sour cream and shredded cheese. Sometimes, we’ll add crushed tortilla chips.