Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grilled Pizza

I have read about grilled pizza for years but had never tried it.  I have a great aversion to anything containing yeast.  I accept it.  I am not a baker.  I am a cook.  Yeast scares me.  It never turns out.  But my neighborhood grocery store (Publix) carries pizza dough.  Ready made.  Ready to go.  Ready for me!!!!  I don't have to mess with making it myself.

Well, I gotta tell ya!!!!  This stuff is GOOD.  There is no recipe.  Just a suggestion.  As my sweet husband knows, my favorite pizza has LOADS of onions on it.  This is so simple.  Get yourself some pizza dough (make it yourself if you're brave enough, or be a sissy like me and buy it pre-made).  Turn your grill on high and spray it with grill "PAM" spray (I used EVOO one time...DO NOT do least not if you're using an electric grill...It will give the crust a burnt taste)..  Cook it for 2 minutes on one side, turn the dough and then brush it with a bit of olive oil, then brush on a bit of marinara sauce (I used jarred marinara sauce), and your choice of toppings.  I love onions and tomatoes, then mozzarella cheese and top with fresh basil from my herb garden, lovingly tended by my sweetheart!  Cook until the cheese is melted and the crust looks golden.  Absolutely delish!!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Abuelo's Papas Con Chile

OK....I did a computer search for Abuelo's Restaurant Papas Con Chile (mashed potatoes).  A wonderful substitute for Spanish rice.  I found the most fabulous recipe, made it, LOVED it!!!  I have lost the recipe!!!!  Hopefully, it will turn up once I clean up my desk!  But, doing another search, I found a recipe very close to what I used.

First, let me say, this recipe calls to use red potatoes.  I love red potatoes and I used them for everything, including baking.  But if you prefer starchy versus waxy, you could certainly substitute russets.  I am going to list the recipe I found after multiple searches, but I will say that I used less Velveeta and added green and red peppers (diced) and not the jalapenos or pimientos, but I imagine the recipe is going to be very close to what I use the other day.

Also, I did let my potatoes broil for a few minutes, therefore the one side of this photo is a bit more brown.  Absolutely delicious!!!

P.S.  I also noted above with the enchilada recipe that I also served this with refried beans.  I can't find the photo.  But it is an easy, easy, easy recipe.  I simply buy a can of fat-free refried beans and a can of mild green enchilada sauce.  I combine the two (maybe 2/3 can of the enchilada sauce), whisk it together and add a handful of diced sweet onions and some shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese, bake it with the the enchiladas,  then maybe top it with some more cheese and broil it for a minute or two until brown.  This, by the way, makes a wonderful dip for tortilla chips.


2# red potatoes
2 oz cream cheese
4 oz Velveeta
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly minced garlic
2 oz diced green chilies
1 oz pimientos (or substitute chopped red peppers)
1/2 oz pickled jalapenos (or substitute green bell peppers)
2-4 Tbsp finely diced green onions
NO milk

Wash and remove weird spots off potatoes.  Place in stock pot and cover with water.  Boil over medium flame until potatoes are soft to the touch.  Drain water.

Combine all ingredients into pot with cooked potatoes.  Whip with mixer until creamy and smooth. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I made the best enchiladas last night!  These were so easy and since I changed the recipe from flour tortillas to corn, it made a lot more than I expected (10, so I froze a second dish, using two 8x8 dishes).  The recipe came from my new favorite cookbook author, Marlene Koch, who takes a recipe and pares down the fat/calories.  You would never know these were so lightened up.  I served these with some refried beans and a copy of Abuelo's mashed potatoes, so good!!!!  Those recipes to follow.   This recipe is the original from Marlene's "Eat What You Love" cookbook.  As I said, I changed the tortillas, using 10 corn tortillas, and then halfing the rest of the ingredients.


1 (10 oz) can reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup
1 cup light sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
8 (8") reduced-carb, high-fiber tortillas
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (or Mexican Blend)
2 Tbsp low-fat milk
1/2 cup diced green onions

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, and green chilies.

Warm the tortillas by wrapping them in a towel and placing them in the microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes.

Place 1 tortilla on a flat surface (keeping others covered), and spread 2 Tbsp of the soup mixture down the center of the tortilla.  Spread 1/4 cup of the children over the soup mixture and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the cheese.  Roll the tortilla around the filling (enchilada style) and place into the baking pan, seam side down.  Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.

Add the milk to the remaining soup mixture and spread over the enchiladas.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of the cheese and the green onions over the top.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scallops w/Creamy Bacon Corn Sauce

Here's another fast and delicious Publix recipe.  I just love their recipes.  I can always count on a tasty dinner when I use their examples.


3 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound bay scallops
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
8 oz tomato trinity mix (fresh diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers)
1 Tbsp blackening seasoning
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 Tbsp chives, coarsely chopped (optional)

Remove corn husks and silks, slice kernels off cobs (2-3 cups) into medium bowl.  Scrape cobs with back of knife to release remaining juices.

Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Season scallops with S&P.  Place oil in pan, then add scallops, cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden, opaque, and firm.  Remove pan from heat; transfer scallops to plate and cover to keep warm.

Cut bacon into small pieces (using kitchen shears) while adding to same pan (wash hands); cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp.  Drain bacon fat, reserving one tablespoon in pan.  Stir in trinity mix; cook 2-3 minutes  or until soft.   Combine blackening seasoning, half-and-half, and corn, add to pan.

Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 3-4 more minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Transfer corn mixture to serving dish; top with scallops and chives.  Serve.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 19th, 1995 9:02 a.m.

It's so hard to believe it's been 17 years.  I will never forget the last time I saw my brother:  I had had car trouble and Paul let me use his car on April 18th.  I got home from work, returned his car and then Mom and Dad came by and dropped off dinner for Paul and myself (Paul and I lived just a few blocks apart):  pinto beans and cornbread!  It was a lovely evening and the morning I left for work on the 19th it was a beautiful spring day.  I live with it everyday and will never forget 9:02 a.m.  We waited eight days for my sweet brother's body to be recovered.

The senseless loss of my brother changed my life and my family.  It lives with me everyday.  Thank you for taking a minute for looking at the website:   And if you're ever in OKC, please make a point to stop in at the is riveting.

I miss you, Paul.  More than you'll ever know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tomato Brie Pasta Sauce

My, my, my!!!  This little blog of mine has been so neglected over the last month or so.  Between my quest to use up food in the freezer and pantry, and with Spot's ongoing liver crisis, I haven't made a new dish in the longest time.  Well, this was one more "use-it-up" ingredient.  BRIE CHEESE!   I happened to run across this recipe several weeks ago and had the foresight to print it out.  

And how wonderfully it turned out!  Even if you're not a big fan of Brie cheese, I can't see how you wouldn't love this.  It adds a bit a creaminess to a traditional red sauce, but an added depth of flavor.  Yummmm!!!!  Serve it over any type of pasta (penne, farfelle, even spaghetti) with  a Caesar salad for a meatless Monday meal.

TOMATO BRIE PASTA SAUCE  (makes about 3-4 cups of sauce)

28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz Brie cheese, out rind removed, cubed (I had an 8 oz wheel, once the rind was removed, I had 4 oz cheese)

In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, sugar, basil, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.  Add the Parmesan cheese and stir well, continuing to simmer for another 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the Brie cheese, simmering and stirring until the cheese melts.  Serve the sauce of pasta. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Spot Girl

Right here is the #1 reason my blog has been so sketchy lately.  This is my Spot Girl.  Sweet thing.  She's really been having a tough time.  About a month ago, I had her groomed and discovered a huge lump on her leg (see her front front leg shaved?)  After removing the mass, the vet discovered a HUGE mass in her belly.  They did x-rays and thought the mass was on her spleen.  Turns out it was on her liver.  Gratefully, ON her liver, not grown into.  Both vets said that generally they would have euthanized the dog or sent her to a specialist.  But since the growth was on the outside  of her liver, they just lopped it off, along with a lobe of her liver.  It has been several weeks now and she has gained 2 pounds of the 8 pounds lost after surgery!

The thought of losing a pet is never easy.  I thought we were so close last week and so every day I am so grateful that this precious girl is still with us and doing better.  She and Muffin have promised me to live to be 30 (people years). She has 17 more to go!  OK, maybe I'm a bit optimistic here, but, well.....  what can I say? 

UPDATE:  I took Spot by the vet's today (4-19) to have her weighed.  Pre-surgery, she was over 50 pounds.  After surgery, she was down to about 42 pounds.  Last Tuesday (4-10) she was at 43.5 pounds.  Today, just nine days later, she was at 46.3 pounds!!!!  An almost 3 pound gain in just nine days!!!!  This girl is a miracle!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bagel Hummus Sandwich

Summer is just around the corner bringing with it a whole new menu.  This is one of my favorite sandwiches when it starts heating up (any time of year, really).  You could really change this up any way you like, but this is my all-time favorite roster of ingredients:

Lightly toasted bagel of your choice (Panera Bread has the best bagels in these parts)
Hummus (my favorite: Publix's Cilantro Jalapeno)
Sliced cucumbers (I prefer the small pickling cucumbers)
Sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, Texas 10/15, etc)
Alfalfa sprouts (gotta have the sprouts!)
Feta or goat cheese

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Sorry for the spotty postings of late.  Between taking care of Spot and trying to clean out my freezer/frig/pantry, I've not done a lot of new stuff.  At least since I always bake for Jim's office weekly, I at least get to try something new here and there!  And, FYI, Spot is doing GREAT!!!!  I'm anxious to get her back to the vet and scales and see that she's continuing to gain weight!  She's definitely gained some energy and is eating lots!  It's the most incredible thing and I am grateful everyday to see her precious little smile!

So, here's a new scone recipe for you.  And I am not a fan of strawberries, but these scones are just wonderful.  The berries add a bit more of sweetness generally lacking in scones.  My butter did come to room temp and therefore there was a bit more of a spread in the dough than I would have liked, so be careful and use COLD butter!  But a wonderful flavor and a great accompaniment to a cup of coffee or hot tea.  Enjoy.


1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp half-and-half or whipping cream
2 cups AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 drops pure orange extract, optional
1 cup diced fresh strawberries

3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp water

Preheat the oven to 375.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper or a Silpat) two baking sheets.  For the scones, in a blender or food processor, process the 1/2 cup diced strawberries with the sugar and half-and-half or cream until the mixture is smooth.  Set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Using a pastry blender, forks, or your fingertips, work in the butter to the dry ingredients until the mixture is unevenly crumbly with the largest crumbs about the size of a pea.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the blended strawberry/cream mixture, the egg, the vanilla extract, and the orange extract, if using.

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough just barely starts to come together.  Add the cup of diced strawberries, gently folding them in, using your hands, if necessary, to pull the dough together into a cohesive mass.  Take care not to overmix, it will make the scones tough.  It's OK to have a shaggy mass of dough as long as it is holding together for the most part.

Lightly sprinkle your work surface/countertop with flour and divide the dough into two halves.  Take one half and gently press the dough into a thick circle on the floured surface, about 6-7" in diameter.  Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to separate the dough into 6 equal triangles.  Place each scone on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2" apart.  Repeat with the remaining half of dough.  Alternately, you can make smaller scones by dropping tablespoon-ful sizes of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.

Make the glaze by stirring together the sugar, water, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water gradually at a time until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick syrup.  Drizzle some of the syrup over the top of each scone.

Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 13-16 minutes.  When properly baked, they should be moist (but not gummy) at the center.

Serve the scones warm or at room temp.  The scones can also be cooled completely and stored in an airtight container at room temp.  Just before serving, reheat very briefly in the microwave, or for 5-10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil, in a  preheated 350 oven.