Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shrimp Chili Rellenos Tacos

Hello there! Sorry, I have been working a lot. Not much cooking going on. I am trying to finish a design project for a client. Yesterday I wrapped things up for awhile and got back in the kitchen. 

Last Wednesday, I got to thinking I should try using shrimp in my Chili Relleno Taco recipe. Yes I think about recipes while I work sometimes. I did experiment Saturday making one Shrimp Chili Relleno Taco. It was amazing! So yesterday, I had dear sister over to share my experiment. We made Salty Chihuahuas and another salsa recipe (I will post later). I also tried the new shrimp tacos out on her. She loved it too. She said, "I can't believe how good they are. They are better than I thought they would be. I think the marinade is perfect on the shrimp." I agree! I think I like the shrimp relleno taco better than the chicken version. My next experiment will be Mushroom Chili Rellenos Tacos. You won't have to wait for long. I already bought the ingredients. So stay close by.

Shrimp Chili Rellenos Tacos
Serves 2


2 poblano peppers
20 shrimp, peeled, deveined and marinated [Click here for Marinade recipe]
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 small flour tortillas


Set 4 skewers in water to soak [Click here for a tip on soaking skewers]. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Marinate shrimp 10-15 minutes before ready to cook. Rub poblano peppers with a little vegetable oil. Poblanos should be left whole. Place poblanos on the grill. Grill for five minutes on each side on medium high heat. Remove poblanos and cover with plastic wrap. Thread 5 shrimp on each skewer. Grill shrimp for 4 minutes, 2 minutes a side. When poblanos are cool enough to touch, peel off the skin of poblanos. Cut poblanos in half from stem to tip, remove seeds, stem and veins being careful not to split open the sides of the pepper. Place a flour tortilla on a sheet of parchment paper, place a poblano half on top. Fill poblano with 5 shrimp and 1/4 cup of cheese, fold tortilla around poblano and wrap in parchment. Place 2 parchment wrapped tacos on a microwave safe plate. Microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute until cheese has melted and tortilla is soft and warm. Serve.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Anyonita's Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Love Bakes Good Cakes: All My Bloggy Friends
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Marinated Mushroom Salad

This is yet another recipe I copied from the WW Recipe Review Board. I decided to see if I could find it's origin. It turns out it is also a recipe from Taste of Home [Click Here for the Original Recipe]. I love mushrooms! So any recipe that uses three pounds of mushrooms appeals to me. The fact that it has olives too does hurt. This salad is delicious the only problem is you have to be patient. It really does need to refrigerate overnight. All that time marinating is what makes the mushrooms so delicious. It reminds me of a mushroom salad you might find on a nice salad bar. It has lots of fresh crunchy vegetables too. I like parsley, so I add a little more parsley than the original recipe. It gives a fresh herb flavor to the dressing. This is really a great summer side salad.

Marinated Mushroom Salad
Adapted from: Taste of Home
Serves 6 - 8


2-1/2 quarts water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 lbs small fresh mushrooms
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced stuffed olives
1 can (2-1/4 oz) sliced black olives, drained
Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

For dressing:
1/2 cup fat free Italian dressing
1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano


In a large saucepan, bring water and lemon juice to a boil. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and cool. Place mushrooms in a large bowl with carrots, celery, green pepper, onion, parsley and olives. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jar with tight fitting lid; shake or mix well. Pour over salad. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally.

Veggies + Fruit = Delicious Salads

I have discovered I really like combination veggie and fruit salads. It all started with some of Mark Bittman's recipes for 101 Simple Salads. In many of his salads he combined veggies and fruit. Some of my favorites are:

  1. Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft.
  2. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half; toss with soy sauce, a bit of dark sesame oil and basil or cilantro. I love this — the tomato juice-soy thing is incredible. (Ok, no fruit in this one but it is too good not to share.)
  3. Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both).
  4. Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing.

Then Hungry Girl added cucumber to her fruit salad. She calls it Ginormous Fruit Salad Surprise. The surprise to me is that the cucumber tastes a little like melon when combined with the fruit. Delicious!

So when I saw this Zucchini Apple Salad in Taste of Home I knew I had to try it. It did not disappoint. It is sweet, tangy and crunchy. I knew I would like zucchini and apples. But I wasn't sure about Italian dressing and apples, I really like it! Sort of a sweet and sour thing. It is more apparent freshly made. It mellows the longer it sits in the refrigerator. Any of these salads would be great to take for lunch or to a pot luck.

If you have any favorite veggie and fruit combinations I would love to hear about them.

Zucchini Apple Salad
Source: Taste of Home
6 Servings


2 medium red apples, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2/3 cup Italian salad dressing


In a large bowl, combine the apples, zucchini and walnuts. Add salad dressing; toss to coat. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 2/3 cup (prepared with fat-free salad dressing) equals 114 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 383 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat, 1/2 fruit.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tomato and Swiss Cheese Melt

This is perhaps one of those non-recipe recipes. It is a breakfast idea I got at a WW meeting many years ago. I love the Swiss cheese with the tomato. American is not bad too. But the Swiss version is my favorite. It is a go to breakfast when tomatoes are at their peak. 

Tomato and Swiss Cheese Melt
Serves 1


1 - 100 cal. English muffin
2 slices Swiss cheese(2% if you can find it or ultra thin slices)
2 slices of tomato
salt and pepper to taste


Slice muffin in half and toast. Season tomato with salt and pepper to taste. Place one tomato slice and one cheese slice on each muffin half. Place under a broiler or in a toaster oven until cheese melts.

Variation: Use American cheese or your favorite cheese. You can use the microwave to melt the cheese, but the English muffin will not stay crisp.

Boiled Cabbage and Sausage

This recipe was a staple in my house growing up. It was a quick one pot meal Mom could get on the table on a week night. I know now that this is called a "Boiled Dinner". We always called it "Boiled Cabbage and Sausage". The sausage and onions really give this meal all it's flavor. Starting with cold water and bringing it to a boil pulls the spice from the smoke sausage and flavors the pot. Mom always served this meal with butter and vinegar on the table. Butter was great on everything. But the vinegar was great on the cabbage. I decided to get fancy with the recipe and I added a bay leaf, some thyme sprigs and pepper to the pot this time. To be honest I really did not see much of a difference. Some recipes are just fine and should be left alone.

Boiled Cabbage and Sausage
Serves 4


1 head of Cabbage, quartered with core/stem trimmed but intact
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2” pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
4 small onions, peeled and halved with root attached
8 new red potatoes
1 tsp salt

Optional ingredients:
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of thyme


Place all ingredients in a large pot, fill with water just to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain and serve.

Linking to:
Rediscovering Lost Arts from Our Mothers:Tried and True Family Recipes

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Creamy Mac and Cheese

Oh boy! Did I make a mess with this recipe Friday. I had everything timed out perfectly. The Turkey Burgers and the Creamy Mac and Cheese would be finished at the same time. Then it happened. I went to drain the cooked elbow macaroni and I dumped the entire thing into the sink. Ooops! I am so glad I had penne in the pantry. The good news is now I know this recipe is delicious with elbows, shells and penne. This recipe is adapted from a Southern Living recipe. The original recipe used all full fat ingredients and refrigerated Alfredo sauce. I find you don't miss the fat at all. It is creamy and so easy. I like that you automatically get a two cheese mac and cheese by using the Alfredo sauce. You can customize the recipe and use any cheese or pasta shape you like. This is a very flexible and delicious recipe. 

Creamy Mac and Cheese
Adapted from: Southern Living
Makes 2 to 3 main-dish or 4 to 6 side-dish servings


1 (8 oz) package elbow macaroni (2 cups dry)
1 (15 oz) jar light Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (8 oz) 2 % sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Parsley, roughly chopped (optional)


Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Bring Alfredo sauce and next 4 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in cooked pasta. Serve garnished with parsley. 

Linking to:
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Ms.enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - American Favorites

Turkey Burgers

This is a WW recipe I have had for years. The original recipe used steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce. I found that substituting other sauces you can make all kinds of different turkey burgers. This night, I decided to add chili sauce and top with barbecue sauce. They were moist, tender and flavorful. Even a little spicy too. They were great with the Creamy Mac and Cheese. I put the leftovers in microwave safe containers for lunch. They even re-heat well, retaining all their moisture. Looks like I need to buy more ground turkey.

Turkey Burgers
Adapted from: WW Recipe
Makes 4 servings


16 oz ground turkey
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. chili sauce (or steak, ketchup, barbecue, hoisin, buffalo sauce)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Barbecue sauce (optional)
Parsley, roughly chopped


In medium bowl, combine turkey, onion, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper; form mixture into four equal patties, each about 3/4" thick. Season both sides with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Heat medium nonstick skillet over medium heat 1 minute; add patties.  Cook, turning once, 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned.

Add 1/4 cup water to skillet; reduce heat to low.  Cook, covered, 5 minutes, until patties are cooked through. Top with barbecue sauce if desired. Garnish with parsley.

Linking to:
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday

Grilled Fish Tacos

It was dear sister that put Grilled Fish Tacos in my head. She said she had been craving them. I love fish tacos almost any style. I have not tried making them with grilled tilapia yet. I was a little worried about it sticking or breaking up on the grill. I decided to take some help from aluminum foil. It really helped keep the fish moist. The spice rub was delicious too. I think the chipotle chili powder and cumin really added to the smoky grill flavor. I was amazed to discover that the fish was great re-heated too. Dear sister took some to work for lunch the next day. She said they were delicious. Definitely another recipe to make again and again.

Grilled Fish Tacos
Serves 4


For fish:
4 tilapia filets
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed by hand
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Olive oil
Lime juice
Cilantro, roughly chopped

For chipotle mayo:
4 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp chipotle puree
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp lime juice

For tacos:
12 Corn tortillas
Coleslaw mix
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
Cilantro, roughly chopped
Lime, cut into wedges
2% sharp cheddar cheese (optional)


Combine garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle tilapia filets evenly on both sides. Sprinkle filets with olive oil, lime juice and cilantro, rub all over filets and place in refrigerator covered to marinate 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, chipotle puree, salt and lime juice. Stir until well combined, cover and set aside in the refrigerator. [If you can not find chipotle puree, puree a can of chipotle peppers in adobe in a blender or food processor. Freeze leftovers in a Ziploc bag for another use.]

Pre-heat grill to medium heat for 10 minutes. Place tilapia filets on one side of a large piece of foil. Fold the other half of foil over the filets and fold the three edges. Place foil packet on the grill. Grill 6 minutes, 3 minutes a side. Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes.

Warm tortillas on a plate covered in plastic wrap for 40 seconds on high in the microwave. To assemble tacos spread a teaspoon of chipotle mayo in the center of the each tortilla. Add flaked tilapia, coleslaw, red onion, tomato and cilantro. Add a sprinkle of cheese if using. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

Sister's To-Go order with cheese of course

Linking to:
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
Ms.enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Lazy Gastronome: Taco Tuesday

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cornbread Sandwiches

This recipe was inspired by a trip with a girlfriend to Jefferson, TX. We went for the day to shop and have lunch together. It was such a nice day. Jefferson has lots of antique stores to explore. I found lots of Fiesta to drool over and my friend was on the hunt for carnival glass. I came home that day with two Fiesta cream soup bowls and an appreciation for cornbread sandwiches. See we had lunch at Kitt's Kornbread Sandwich and Pie Bar. It was one of the places my girlfriend said was a must. Boy was she right! Kitt’s is a cute little sandwich shop that makes all their sandwiches on cornbread. You can get the original which is ham or turkey or you can get some specialties like “The Texan” which is chili and cheese. They let you choose from plain or broccoli cornbread. I had a veggie sandwich. It was delicious. My friend and I discussed trying to make it at home.

Well I just got around to giving it a try Sunday. I decided to try making a jalapeno cheese cornbread for my sandwiches. All along I knew the hard part would be baking the cornbread. You want it to be thin, fluffy but not crumbly. I think I got the thickness right. When you slice it in half, each half is the thickness of sandwich bread. The flavor was wonderful not to spicy or cheesy and big corn flavor. The texture I want to experiment with a little more. It was moist and not crumbly, it sliced just perfect. But next time I want to try to use a little more flour and less cornmeal. I want to try to make it a little fluffier. But all in all, I was very pleased with the out come for my first try.

Now for the sandwiches, the first sandwich I made was veggie. It had layers of American cheese, tomato, red onion, mayo and spinach. It was very good. Then dear sister came over and I made hers with the addition of smoked turkey. It was amazing! Like sister said, “There is just something about the smoky turkey that sets it off.” I agree the turkey was my favorite. But just think about it, there are so many possibilities for more cornbread sandwiches. I am sure this is not the last time I will give them a try. I hope you will give it a try too. Or maybe plan a trip to Jefferson and go visit Kitt for the original Kornbread Sandwich.

Cornbread Sandwiches
Serves 4


For the cornbread:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 1% milk
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 green onion, thinly sliced and divided
1 Tbsp sliced pickled jalapenos, minced (plus 4 slices for the garnish)

For the sandwiches:
3 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
4 slices American cheese
12 thin slices of smoked turkey or ham
1 tomato, sliced
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Kosher salt, to taste


In a bowl stir together the flour, the cornmeal, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt. In another bowl whisk milk, egg, and butter. Add wet ingredients to dry; stir the mixture until it is combined. Add half of the cheese, half the green onion and 1 Tbsp. minced jalapenos; stir to combine. Spread the batter in an even layer in a greased 8-inch-square baking pan. Top with remaining cheese, green onion and 4 slices of jalapeno. Bake the corn bread in the middle of a preheated 425° oven for 20 minutes, or until it pulls away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden. Let cornbread cool and invert it onto a cutting board.

Cut the corn bread in half and cut each half in half again (each about 4 by 4 inches). Halve each piece horizontally with a serrated knife and spread the bottom halves of the corn bread with some of the mayonnaise. Season the tomato and onion with a little salt. Layer the bottom halves with cheese, ham or turkey, tomato, red onion and spinach. Cover the sandwiches with the top halves of the corn bread and serve.

Note: The sandwiches are great room temperature, but they are also delicious re-heated. Just pop the cornbread open faced with a slice of cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then assemble with your choice of ingredients. Yum!

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo 
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia and Link Party - Nebraska
Anyonita Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Sandwiches

Garlic Lover’s Hot Sauce

For years my family has been buying a hot sauce found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It is Albert’s Mild Hot Sauce. It is mild packed with big tomato flavor and loads of garlic. This past weekend I experimented with making my own version. Although it may not be exactly the same it does have all the great flavors of the original. It is sweet with the same big tomato flavor. I used a fresno chili so it has a mild and fruity chili flavor. It gets all its heat from the garlic. This is definitely for all you garlic loving, cilantro haters out there. Don't get me wrong I LOVE cilantro but this hot sauce is delicious too. It deserves a place on the table at any Mexican dinner.

Garlic Lover’s Hot Sauce
Make 4 cups


1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
1 fresno chili, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar


In a blender, process fresno, garlic, vinegar, tomato paste, oil, salt and sugar with the liquid from the can of tomatoes. Blend until the chili and garlic are chopped fine. Add the tomatoes and pulse until desired constancy. Refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia and Link Party - Nebraska
Anyonita Nibbles: Tasty Tuesdays
Buns In My Oven: What's Cookin Wednesday
Miz Helen's Country Cottage: Full Plate Thursday
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays

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