Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shrimp Tacos with Slaw

Well, here's my Taco of the Week recipe!  I must have fish or shrimp tacos almost weekly and never the same way twice.  Makes me no difference.....grilled, sauteed, baked and different toppings just about everytime.

This is a quick and easy one and has those three things I love:  taste, texture, color.  Aren't they festive looking?  You could, of course, use green cabbage but they wouldn't be nearly as pretty.  And don't be afraid of poblanos.....they're almost to the end of the Scoville Heat Scale (only bell peppers and banana peppers are milder).  They, too, add a vibrant green to this colorful creation.

SHRIMP TACOS with SLAW (serves 4)

1/4 cup lime juice
1-2 oz clear tequila
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 green onions, chopped
1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced, optional
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp salt
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
8 corn tortillas, warmed
chili powder or hot sauce

For the marinade, mix together the lime juice, tequila, olive oil, jalapeno, and salt; reserve one-third separately.  Pour the remainder into a ziplock bag along with the shrimp.  Allow to marinade, 15 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, for the slaw, mix cabbage, green onions and poblano, if using, in a bowl.  Add the oj, cilantro, olive oil, and salt.  Toss to combine.

Drain shrimp, discarding marinade.  Thread on skewers or use grilling pan; grill over medium heat, turning once and brushing with the reserved marinade, 3-6 minutes depending on size of shrimp (when they start to turn pink, turn for another minute or so).

Serve in tortillas topped with slaw and sprinkle with chili powder or hot sauce.

Recipe Source:  Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6-24-13

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Have you ever watched the program "Cook Yourself Thin?"  I originally started watching it several years ago on the Lifetime network.  Three women visit someone wanting to lose weight, take three of her favorite dishes, and drastically cut the fat/calories.  They give great ideas for substitions and when to use the real thing for the best taste.  This episode featured traditional Sweet and Sour Pork, those deep-fried chunks of grisly mystery meat in a too-sweet, artifically-colored gooey sauce.

I loved the program and then it went off the air.  But now it's back on one of Lifetime's auxiliary stations (Lifetime Real Women).  Everything I've made from their shows have come out wonderfully (there is also a "Cook Yourself Thin" cookbook), but this one may be about the best.

I was stunned!!!  One, I'm not a big fan of's usually too dry for me.  And two, I'm not real big on cooked sweet or green peppers.  But for some reason, this worked for me.  Maybe because you use thin boneless pork chops and cook them quickly.   And the peppers and onions caramelize wonderfully.  Be careful not to overcook them!!!  They provide a wonderful crunch.  In fact, next time I will double the onions (because I love onions) and double the sauce (because I'd like a bit more sauce for the rice).

SWEET and SOUR PORK CHOPS (serves 4)

For the pork chops:
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 pound 1" thick boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of any fat, and cut into 1" cubes
2 Tbsp pineapple juice
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 red onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1" cubes
2 peppers (red, green, orange, yellow....whatever you have on hand) stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" cubes

For the brown rice:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups chicken stock

To make the pork chops: Combine sherry, pepper, 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp of the sugar in a medium bowl.  Add pork and gently toss until well-coated.  Let marinate in the refrigerator.

Stir together pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, the remaining Tbsp of soy sauce, and remaining tsp of sugar in a small bowl until well-combined.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned but still a little crisp, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a large dish.  Heat another Tbsp of the oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned but still a little crisp, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to the same dish.

Heat remaining Tbsp of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the pork cubes, arranging in a single layer.  Cook, undisturbed, until a golden-brown crust forms on the other side, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Return onion and peppers to the pan and toss to combine.  Add pineapple juice mixture and cook, until sauce evenly coats everything and thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

To make the rice: In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil and add the rice.  Cover with a lid and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Using a fork, fluff the grains and serve.

Recipe Source: Episode: Tracy

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Firecracker Slaw

I am always keeping my eye out for different slaw recipes.  I've yet to try one I wouldn't eat a second time!  So what an interesting combination in this one: celery, peppers, jalapeno, and Italian salad dressing.

The dressing is sweetened with a bit of brown sugar so you've got tart, sweet, and spicy.  And of course that wonderful crunch that I love.  It's easy to make (I halved the recipe), the celery adds an extra crunch, and as long as you make sure you remove all of the seeds and the veins, the jalapeno just adds another layer of flavor and just a tiny bit of heat.

I generally go pretty light on dressings and may lessen the amount next time I make this, but not by much.  Try starting with a little more than half and keep adding until it suits your taste.

FIRECRACKER SLAW (8-10 servings)

1 (16 oz) package shredded coleslaw mix
3 ribs of celery, sliced (if stalks are extra wide, slice in half lengthwise, then slice)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, and finely diced
1 cup Italian salad dressing
2 Tbsp light brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, celery, and peppers.

In a small bowl, whisk together the salad dressing and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves; pour over the cabbage mixture, tossing to coat completely.

Cover and chill for at least one hour before servings.

Recipe Source:  Chattanooga Times Free Press newspaper, 7-10-13

NOTE:  The day after I made this I picked up my favorite (Mojo) rotisserie chicken at Publix.  As I was cleaning it I thought "hmmmm....I wondered what some of this chicken would taste like mixed with that fabulous slaw?"  Well, I'll tell you:  FABULOUS!!!  A great chicken salad alone or would be great in a wrap.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Creamy Tomato Vegetable Soup

You'd think it was autumn or something the way I've been churning out soup lately!  But a few pages over from my Navy Bean Soup recipe was this reminder from Minnesota.

In one of the restaurants I worked in there was a young man who had an incredible knack of coming up with the most wonderful dishes with just what he had on hand.  And simple.  This recipe has just 8 ingredients and, of course, can be easily varied to suit your tastes.  We always made the soup with chunky vegetables so that's how I continue to make it.  I slice the zucchini lengthwise and them cut them into half-moon slices.  Same with the carrots if they get really wide on the bottom half.

I don't use S&P myself, but season to your taste.  Try adding Italian Seasoning and Parmesan cheese for a different taste.  You can drain the diced tomatoes if you want a thicker broth or add it if you like it thinner.  I do splurge and use half-and-half, but keep the portions smaller.


1/2 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
6-8 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
10 oz half-and-half

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and carrot in a small amount of olive oil until just becoming tender.  Add mushrooms and zucchini.  Stir.  Cover and stir every minute or two until vegetables are to the tenderness of your liking.

Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, and half-and-half.  Bring to heat over a medium-low heat.  Season to taste, if necessary.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cucumbers with Dressing

I loves me some cucumbers!  But I'm also very particular about them.  I almost exclusively eat the small pickling cucumbers.  I'll resort to English (hothouse) cukes in a crisis, but I just can't bring myself to buy those awful huge things that they insist on growing to the size of footballs.

Since as long as I can remember, my mom's and dad's families always had a cucumber salad with every meal during the summer (they all had gardens).  And when Mom would make it at home I would sneak into the frig and steal a couple of slices.  Hers were a simple recipe of sliced cukes, sliced sweet onions, water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, S&P, and the requisite ice cubes!  This was the only way I ate cucumbers (outside of additions to salads, etc.) until Jim's stepmother introduced me to this mayo-based salad.

The first time she made it, I graciously allowed everyone to take a helping and then I, again graciously, finished everything that was leftover.  She had to make another batch for the next meal and always had them on hand when we visited during the cucumber months.

The recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine back in 1997.  Whenever I make a dip or dressing with mayo I usually use half regular and half low-fat mayo to lighten it up a bit.  But you really need to use the full-fat version here.  Also, I only make about 1/3 of the dressing recipe and it is plenty for my taste.

CUCUMBERS with DRESSING (serves 4-6.....well, in most cases!)

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (I used cider)
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups sliced cucumbers
fresh dill, chopped

In a bowl, combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, and salt.  Add cucumbers; stir to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home magazine, June/July 1997, p. 35

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Food Find: Longon

Have you ever had a longon?  A friend introduced me to them last year and I am hooked!

This fruit originated in SE Asian.  Their name in (I believe) Chinese is "dragon eye" because the fruit resembles an eyeball.  It has a shell which you peel and then eat the soft fruit that surrounds the hard seed in the center.  The longon is very similar to the lychee.

The only place I have found these is at an Asian market here in Chattanooga (on the corner of Lee Highway & Shallowford, next to the Rain restaurant).  The owner tells me that while she can only get the lychees about one week out of the year, the longons are available pretty much year around.  She tells me they are being grown now in south Florida.

So if you have a good Asian market anywhere near you, see if they carrying either one of the wonderful fruits.  Not only delicious and addictive, these are just fun to eat!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Navy Bean Soup

As I said a few days ago, I love having soup around.  For a meal or a snack, I can't think of any type of soup I don't care for.  And I love making it!  To me, soup-making is a labor of love.  I love the prep work, chopping the vegetables, and how it changes and matures after a day or two.  And while I do indulge in cream-based soups occasionally, I like to try to keep a lo-cal/lo-fat/hi-fiber/hi-flavor soup on hand, year around.

This is one my my standards.   I can't say I really follow a specific recipe.  Below is simply a guideline.  Add more or fewer vegetales or vary the seasonings to your taste.  And for a diversion from what you'd expect, try adding a splash of vinegar to your cup of soup.

NAVY BEAN SOUP (4-6 servings)

1/2 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight
1 ham bone or ham hock
1 quart water
1-2 stalks of celery, diced (include celery leaves)
2 medium carrots, or about 1-2 dozen baby carrots (depending on size) chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2-1 cup diced ham, optional
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Montreal Seasoning
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
S&P, to taste
choice of vinegar, optional

Bring pre-soaked beans, water, and ham bone or ham hock to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  Start checking the beans for tenderness at about 45 minutes.  Once they start to become tender, add the vegetables, diced ham (if using), and seasonings.  Do not add any salt at this time.  Between the ham and the Montreal Seasoning, this may be all you need.  Check vegetables at about 15 minutes.

Once vegetables and beans are tender to your liking, adjust seasonings if necessary.  Remove bay leaves.  If you like, serve with a splash of distilled, apple, white or red wine vinegar. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Honey Lime Shrimp

You can't get much simpler than this!  This is a great shrimp recipe....great as an entree or use leftovers in a salad.  The honey and lime are fantastic contrasts and the little bit of crushed red pepper adds an extra depth to the flavor profile.  This is, at least for me, a recipe which I usually have everything on hand.  Outside of the marinating time, this dish takes just minutes to cook.  Saute it in a skillet or cook it on the grill. Yummy!


1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (any size you choose)
1/4 cup EVOO
2 Tbsp honey
zest of one small lime
juice of one small lime (2-3 Tbsp)
2 tsp minced garlic
S&P to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

In a ziploc bag, combine all the marinade ingredients.  When everything is well combimed, add the shrimp, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, and close it up.  Place it in the frig.

Let the shrimp marinate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag around once or twice during that time, so that all the shrimp stay evenly covered in the marinade.

When you're ready to cook, take the shrimp out of the frig and let it sit at room temp for about 10 minutes.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; no need to add any oil to the pan, due to the oil in the marinade.  If grilling, you can skewer the shrimp or cook them directly on the grill (using a grill pan if necessary).

Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer, making sure they are not too crowded, you can always cook them in more than one batch. Let them cook on one side for about a minute, until they curl up and start to turn pink.  Flip them, and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until the shrimp are opaque.  Remove from the pan, sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve immediately.

Recipe Source:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Quinoa Salad

This is a wonderfully versatile dish to have on hand as a side dish or side salad.  It can be served warm or cold.  The first time I make a new recipe, I almost always follow it to a T.  I thought I had everything on hand but when I got home I realized I didn't have any zucchini, so I used the asparagus out of my garden.  I had some mushrooms and grape tomatoes that needed a home immediately, so I sauteed the mushrooms with the shallots and used the grape tomatoes instead of the sun-dried tomatoes.

And of course this dish has everything I love in a good recipe:  Taste, Texture, Nutrition.

SUMMER QUINOA SALAD (4-6 servings)

scant 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large shallot, chopped
3 tsp garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped kale
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 ears sweet corn kernels
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
shaved or freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Bring scant cup broth to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add quinoa to broth, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots then saute until tender, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes then saute for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.  Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini.  Season with S&P then saute for 2 minutes.  Add corn and sundried tomatoes then saute for another 2 minutes.

Add white wine then scrape up any brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon.  When wine is nearly evaporated, add peas then stir to combine.  Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa and acook until broth is absorbed.

Remove skillet from heat and add basil; stir to combine.  Taste and season with S&P, to taste.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Source:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zucchini Soup

We are beginning the plentiful summer vegetable season and zucchinis are near the top of the list.  Best flavor, best prices.  I had a couple of summer vegetable soup recipes and when I was in the store I went with this recipe since I had almost everything on hand.

And what a wonderful choice!!!  This soup is perfection.  And I just mean the soup.  The original recipe I found called for the addition of sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon, but I honestly prefer this in its purest form, sans garnishes.  So basic and so good.  And healthy.  You could certainly substitute milk in lieu of the half-and-half, but since there is only half a cup, the difference would be nominal.

I love all creamy green vegetable soups but this may be just about my favorite.  If you have a plethora of zucchini, I hope you'll try this.

ZUCCHINI SOUP (3-4 servings)

1 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp butter
3 cups sliced zucchini
2 cups chicken broth
S&P to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half
grated cheddar cheese for garnish, optional
sour cream for garnish, optional
cooked and diced bacon or real bacon bits for garnish, optional

In a large saucepan cook onions in butter until tender.  Add sliced zucchini and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Summer until tender (about 15 minutes).  Add S&P to taste.

Cool slightly then pour mixture into blender and puree it.  Stir in half-and-half.  Return to saucepan and reheat, but do not boil (if reheating in a microwave, use at 50-70% power).

Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon, if desired.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

I generally make fish/shrimp tacos at least once a week....especially in the summer.  With Jim being gone, by dinner meals have become a bit lax and so it's been more than a few weeks since I've made tacos.  This recipe has been sitting on the top of my "To Make" file for some time, and tonight was the night.

I don't think I've ever made the same fish/shrimp taco the same way twice.  Grilled, sauteed, breaded, baked.....makes me no mind!  I love 'em all.  But, for me, one thing always holds true:  I always use the double shell.  The soft tortilla on the outside keeps those crumbling hard shells from falling away, and I just love the dichotomy of that double-crunch!

So, I have listed the recipe as I found it using just the soft tortillas, which would work even for me.  But, again, I love the crunch so I used both.  I used refried beans as a glue to hold the hard shell to the soft tortilla.  I served this with my favorite Spanish rice (see 5-12-13 post) and refried black beans with melted cheddar.  And since I am by myself, I quartered this recipe, although I could have made less.  Two tacos with the rice and beans was a bit too much.  One taco would have been plenty satisfying for me.


1 tsp vegetable oil
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
4 tsp finely minced onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed and finely chopped
2 large ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)
1 pound tilapia, Swai, flounder, or other mild white fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
S&P to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 (5") white corn tortillas
1-2 ripe avocados, sliced
Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and the onions.  Saute, stirring often, until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add jalapenos, tomatoes, and lime juice.  Cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.  Add the fish and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, gently breaking up the fish into bite-sized pieces, until the fish is cooked through and the liquid in the skillet is somewhat reduced (it should be fairly wet but not really soupy).  Be careful not to stir too vigorously or the fish will turn into mushy bits.  Season to taste with S&P.  Stir in the cilantro.

Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet for a few minutes on each side to warm or sandwich 3-4 tortillas in between damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds until pliable.  Scoop the fish mixture into the corn tortillas and top with the avocado.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chopped Taco Salad w/Homemade Catalina Dressing

This is such a great salad recipe for the summer.  And so versatile.  Add more or less of ingredients to suit your tastes and/or dietary restrictions.   Make the dressing days (or weeks) ahead of time.  Mix all of the salad ingredients several hours ahead (minus the avocado and tortillas), keep chilled, making this perfect for potlucks or for days when you have time to prepare the salad, but won't be eating until later.

This salad dressing is wonderful!  Not just for this salad but for any garden salad.  I generally go light on salad dressing and would have usually cut the recipe in half.  But I will definitely be using this in other salads.  And I found these wonderful multi-colored tortilla strips in the produce department, but you could make your own or use regular prepared tortilla chips.


1/2-1 pound ground beef, turkey, or chicken
1-2 tsp taco seasoning, or to taste
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 cup small cubed cheese (cheddar, Jack, Pepper Jack)
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
1 (15 oz) can black olives, sliced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
1-2 avocados, chopped or sliced
Tortilla chips

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
S&P to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, brown the meat until cooked through, breaking up meat into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.  Drain excess grease if needed.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Mix well.  Place on paper towel-line plate to allow to cool to room temperature.

For the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth (or place in bowl and whisk well until emulsified).  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together except the tortilla chips.

Serve the salad with the dressing and the tortilla chips.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Split Pea Soup with Barley/Wheatberries/Farro

I know it's summer and it's hot, but I like having a pot of soup in the frig for those times when I need a filling snack.  While it's easy to grab a handful of chips, I really prefer something that will fill that nagging hunger but not a full meal.

I generally keep one of several soups on hand.  My favorite three are split pea, navy bean, or a crockpot tomato and spinach soup.  These are all filling, low-cal/fat, high fiber, and healthy snacking options.

This is my recipe and of course everything should be tailored to your tastes.  When I use barley, I cook it into the soup.  If I am using wheatberries or farro, I'll simply add those (already cooked) to the finished soup.  And I like my split pea soup thick...I want to be able to stand a spoon in it!  Therefore, I tend to let most of the water evaporate.  If you like yours thinner, don't cook it down as much as I do.  I generally don't add potatoes since I already have the grain in the soup, but I had one on hand that needed to be used so this time I added it.  And I will never, ever, make split pea soup without adding cumin.  Oh YUMMM!!!

And just one more BIG plus:  this (weirdly enough!) makes a great dip for favorite: tortilla chips.


8 oz split peas
ham hock or pork jowl
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
3 tsp garlic
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup barley (if using....if you choose wheatberries or farro, cook those on the side and then add them at the end)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning (I use Joe's Hot Stuff or Nunu's)
1 tsp Montreal Seasoning
salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Put split peas, ham hock or pork jowl, celery, onion, and garlic.  Fill with water about 1" above the split peas.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover (with lid partially open) and cook about 30 minutes.  Add carrot, potato, and barley.  Add a bit more water.  Cook at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Add seasoning to taste.  Serve garnished with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Lime Tomato Sauce

I don't know if I've ever turned down any dish which included shrimp in its ingredients.  Add tomatoes and coconut milk and I KNOW I've never turned it down.  This is the type of entree I'll generally have everything on hand and it involves so little prep that you can make it for a meal which you're short on time or energy.

The original recipe I had was double what I'm posting and said it served 6.  Those would be 6 very large servings in my opinion.  What I've listed below is about half of what I first found, and it would generously serve 4.  I like my sauce a bit thicker so next time I will drain the tomatoes (the original recipe stated to use canned tomatoes, undrained).


12-16 oz uncooked shrimp, size of your choice, peeeled and deveined
1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, reserving a few sprinkles for garnish
3 tsp garlic, finely minced
S&P to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained or undrained, depending on how thin you like the sauce
1 can (13.5 oz) light coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
hot cooked basmati, jasmine, or long-grain rice for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium and add the red peppers, cooking until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the sliced green onions, both white and green parts, cilantro (save a bit for garnish), red pepper flakes (if using), and garlic.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, and salt to taste.   Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes to help develop the flavors and reduce the sauce just slightly.

Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink and tender (3-6 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp).

Stir in the lime juice.  Serve immediately with rice and garnish with remaining cilantro.  Use deep plates or shallow bowls for serving.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

I was looking for a quick and easy recipe in which I had all the ingredients on hand.  I had a taste for fish and found this in the same magazine that I found that wonderful shrimp salad I posted a few days ago.

One of the things I really like about the AllRecipes magazine are the cook's comments suggestions variations on all of the recipes.  This one suggested lightly seasoning the fish with Old Bay seasoning, substituting or using half and half mayo and sour cream, and adding bread crumbs to the butter mixture.  I did all of these and it came out wonderfully!

This recipe serves four large servings (8 oz each).  Since I was cooking just for one, I scaled down the recipe and only used a 4 oz serving, plenty for me.  I simply sprinkled some Panko breadcrumbs into the butter mixture to give the fillet a very nice crunch.  I served it with some steamed asparagus and a crockpot baked potato.  Wonderful!


1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 pounds tilapia (or other mild whitefish....I used Swai) fillets
Old Bay Seasoning, optional
sour cream, optional
Panko breadcrumbs, optional (but strongly encouraged!)

Preheat the broiler.  Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayo, sour cream (if using), and lemon juice.  Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder, and celery salt.  Mix well.  Stir in breadcrumbs if using.  Set aside.

Sprinkle fillets with Old Bay, if using.  Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan.  Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.  Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.  Broil for 2 more minutes, or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to overcook the fish.

Recipe Source:

Monday, July 8, 2013

For Pappa: Lindie

This is a not-so-good shot of Pappa's buddy, Lindie.  Lindie, you see, loves the outdoors.  It doesn't matter what the weather.  We've had record rain here over the last 4-5 days and this is a photo of little Lindie after about 15 minute of drenching rain.

Hi, Pappa!  We miss you and are counting the days until we see you again!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Creamy Corn Bake

This was a recipe they were demo-ing at Publix a few days ago.  Now that summer corn is hitting its mark, this is one fantastic recipe to try!

Most importantly, use fresh corn!  There is nothing like that "snap" of a piece of fresh corn.  Plus, you need to scrape the starch off of the cob to make this dish thicken.  And, at least for me, double the tarragon that is called for in the recipe.  It is a terrific flavor combo.

I already know the first meal I'm going to make when Jim comes home:  the Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce (see 5-27-13 post), Mustard Herb Roasted Potatoes (see 7-4-13 post) and this corn dish.  If I can wait that long!


Cooking spray
4 ears fresh corn, husks/silks removed
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
Aluminum foil
1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped (I will double this amount)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Stir cornstarch, sugar, and salt into corn; stir in half-and-half.  Scrape the corn cobs with the back of a knife and add to corn mixture.  Transfer mixture to baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake 30-35 miutes or until bubbly.  Chop tarragon.

Remove corn from oven; stir in butter and tarragon until blended and mixture beings to thicken.  Serve.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Shrimply Delicious Shrimp Salad

I ran across this recipe in an AllRecipes magazine while at the dentist's office.  I've never made a shrimp salad with egg in it and this recipe looked so easy, having just a handful of ingredients.

Yes, it was easy.  But it was also delicious.  I think the egg lends of bit of creamy sweetness to the other ingredients and it just all comes together wonderfully. 

I had roasted a pound of shrimp last week (shrimp tossed with olive oil and black pepper roasted in a 425F degree oven for 4-7 minutes, depending on size) to use with the previously posted shrimp salad recipe and had these leftover.  They were the smaller 40/50s, I believe, and were perfect.  Use any sized shrimp you'll all be good.


1 pound large peeled and deveined cooked shrimp
1 cup chopped celery
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
3/4 cup mayo
S&P to taste
Lettuce leaf or shredded lettuce to plate, optional
Alfalfa sprouts for garnish, optional

In a large bowl, gently toss the shrimp, celery, onion, carrot, eggs, and mayo.  Season with S&P.  Chill until ready to serve.  If desired, served on a bed of lettuce and garnish with sprouts.

Recipe Source:
Reader's Suggestions:
* Cut mayo half and half with sour cream.  Give it a squeeze of lemon and a few shakes of dill.
* If using larger shrimp, cut into bite-sized pieces.
* Use as an appetizer scooped onto cucumber rounds.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Beautiful 4th of July in Apison

I know I'm in the minority, but this is just about my perfect day.  Gray, rainy, cool.  A real treat in July.  It's so soothing....great napping weather!

So if you're one of those got-to-have-it-hot-and-sunny kind of person and run across a day like this, take a moment to savor it.  The world is simply a kinder place with a gentle rain falling.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mustard Herb Roasted Potatoes

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!
I hope you're all enjoying a nice holiday.  I'm lovin' it here....RAIN RAIN RAIN!!!  My favorite weather.  We're counting the hours until the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (ESPN 1 p.m. EDT).  What a hoot to watch!  Since Jim isn't home, it'll be just me and the girls cooking our own hot dogs (not participating in the contest, you understand.  Just one hot dog per person/dog here today!)
But onto today's dish....some incredible potatoes!  Publix had fingerling potatoes on sale last week and I needed to do something with them.  I hadn't used fingerlings in years but that won't be happening again.  And when I do use them, I guarantee you, I'll be using this recipe.
Fingerlings are a creamy potato.  These are roasted in olive oil, mustard, rosemary, and thyme.  The mustard caramelizes and gives the edges of these potatoes a bit of a crunch.  Generally, I almost always prefer fresh herbs over dried, but dried definitely has an edge with these potatoes...they give another dimension of crunch.  But it's the mustard, oh the mustard!  What a wonderful flavor.
So if you catch fingerlings at a good price, try this recipe.  Eat them hot out of the oven to keep that wonderful texture.
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cleaned
2 Tbsp EVOO
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard, plus extra for dipping
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and toss them with the remaining ingredients.  Arrange the herbed potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and roast them for 35-40 minutes (I stirred them halfway through the cooking time), until they are golden brown and tender.
Season them with salt, if desired.  Serve wtih additional Dijon on the side (optional).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

McCall's Plantation Shrimp Salad

I've had this recipe in my files for a couple of years and have always wanted to try it but for some reason never got around to it (maybe because Jim isn't a big olive fan).  But looking for something quick and easy and with ingredients I had ready and on hand, I remembered this recipe.

It's right up my alley.  And so simple!  I'm posting this recipe as I found it, but all I did was take some cooked rice and add some roasted shrimp, onion, chopped green olives, and mayo.  Mixed it up and had a wonderful dinner after another day of painting!


2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 package shrimp seasoning (recipe recommends Old Bay)
1 cup rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green olives
black pepper
1 cup mayo

Boil shrimp in water with shrimp seasoning until just pink.  Drain and reserve the shrimp water.  Chop shrimp into bite-sized pieces, put on paper towels; set aside to cool.

In the reserved water, boil the rice according to package instructions until tender, drain and set aside.  Add the onion, olives, and black pepper, to taste, to the rice.  Then stir in the mayo.  Add the cooled, dry shrimp last.  Toss and serve.

Recipe Source: Paula Deen

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Smoked Chicken Pasta

Our local barbecue restaurant has a special they run about once a month.  I'd been wanting to try it for the longest time and finally went last week hoping I'd be able to duplicate it at home.

I can't say I duplicated it, more like embellished it.  It is so simple and really good and easy.  What follows isn't a recipe but simply suggestions.  There's was a very simple linguine with alfredo sauce with just a bit of tomatoes and mushrooms added.  But there was an underlying taste I couldn't put my finger on.  The waitress said the cook added some Italian Seasoning to the alfredo but I tasted something else.  I decided on smoked paprika.

Now here's the can make your own alfredo or use your favorite jarred brand (Barilla now makes a lightened version very low in fat and calories...not a true fat-ladened version, but passable).  I was going to saute some mushrooms and then add in some tomatoes, but since I was grilling some zucchini and yellow squash, I decided to dice some of that into the saute as well.

In the meantime I cooked the pasta (I used linguine, 2 oz dried pasta was more than enough for one serving).  When it was close to al dente, I added the alfredo and some smoked chicken to the vegetables, and then stirred in a bit of the Italian Seasoning and smoked paprika (a little more than a bit for me).

I have enough of the sauce/chicken/vegetable sauce leftover for another meal.  All I'll need to do is add some cooked pasta and dinner is served.


2 oz pasta per serving, cooked
Alfredo sauce
Sauteed mushrooms
Fresh, diced tomatoes
Zucchini, diced (optional)
Yellow squash, diced (optional)
Italian Seasoning
Smoked Paprika

Saute mushrooms (and zucchini and squash, if using) and when just about done add tomatoes.  Stir in alfredo sauce.  Season with Italian Seasoning and smoked paprika.  Add cooked pasta.

Serve with grilled vegetables, Caesar salad, and/or garlic bread.