Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mushroom Enchiladas

I am able to get Mushroom Enchiladas at only one Mexican restaurant in Bossier City, LA; El Mariachi. They are so good! I have never seen them on any other menus. They let you pick what kind of sauce you would like on your plate. I always choose green enchilada sauce. They spoil me. This dish has so many things I love, mushrooms, cheese and that verde or green sauce. I like to think they are better for me than other enchiladas too. This is the dish I go back for and will continue to go back to enjoy. I hear the pork chops at El Mariachi are something special too. But I haven't been able to make myself skip my favorite enchiladas. They recently closed for renovations so I decided to make them at home. They turned out great. I used homemade Sazon and a shallot to season the mushroom filling. It was so easy and quick to make. I love the meaty texture of the mushrooms. The Sazon adds just the right Mexican seasonings to the mushrooms. They are so flavorful with just a hint of smoky cumin. I love these enchiladas! I think I will keep eating them at El Mariachi and at home. I hope you will try this recipe and El Mariachi.

Mushroom Enchiladas
Make 6 enchiladas; 2 or 3 servings


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
16 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
3/4 tsp. Sazon seasoning
10 oz. can mild green enchilada sauce
6 flour tortillas
3/4 cup Monterrey jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if using).

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shallot and mushrooms saute until begins to brown and soften. Season with sazon and continue to cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble the enchiladas: Pour a little enchilada sauce in baking dish. Divide mushroom filling among the 6 tortilla and roll. Place seam side down in the baking dish cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and begins to bubble and brown. Caution they will be hot allow to rest a bit before serving.

To make individual portions: Pour a little enchilada sauce in 3 individual baking dishes. Divide mushroom filling among the 6 tortilla and roll. Place 2 seam side down in the baking dish cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Bake one dish at 350 for 15 minutes or microwave for 2 minutes on high. Caution they will be hot allow to rest a bit before serving.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
Tumbleweed Contessa: What'd You Do This Weekend?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins

I mentioned the other day that I spent the day sipping Egg Nog Lattes and baking Christmas goodies. I made very easy desserts this year. In fact I didn't even have to change the oven temperature between recipes. I just took one pan out and shoved in the next pan. The recipes I chose were Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins and Peppermint Dark Chocolate Brownies.

Mom was the one who mentioned eggnog cheesecake. I suggested trying to make the muffins for portion control. Really these Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins were a lighter and lazier version of many recipes I found on Pinterest. I did not make my own crust or whipped cream. I bought ginger snaps for the crust and lite whipped topping. I also used neufchatel cheese. It has 1/3 less fat than cream cheese. So I guess these little cheesecake are diet right? They are delicious! Mom said they taste like they were made with creole cream cheese. I love how creamy they turned out. You can taste both the cream cheese and the eggnog flavors. Just delicious! I will definitely makes these again when it is eggnog season.

Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins
Make 12


12 ginger snap cookies*
2 (8 oz.) blocks neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish if desired
2 large eggs
3/4 tsp rum extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup eggnog
Lite whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Place a ginger snap cookie in the bottom of each liner.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add cheese to a large mixing bowl, then pour sugar mixture over cheese and using an electric hand mixer, blend cheese mixture just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending just until combined after each addition. Add rum and vanilla extracts along with the eggnog and blend well to incorporate. Drop bowl against counter top several times to release some of the excess air bubbles. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups, adding about 1/4 cup batter over each cookie. Bake 20 minutes until cupcakes barely jiggle in center. Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour at room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until serving.

When ready to serve top each cupcake with whipped topping and sprinkle lightly with nutmeg if desired.

*Note: Make sure you purchase ginger snap cookies that will fit in the bottom of the cupcake liners (I used Archway crispy Gingersnap cookies. They fit perfectly).

Now the Peppermint Dark Chocolate Brownies were another easy, I mean lazy dessert. I just jazzed up a brownie mix. I added peppermint and vanilla extracts; baked as directed on the box then decorated. I melted a large handful of white chocolate in the microwave and then spread it on the brownies once cooled. I sprinkled the warm chocolate with crushed candy canes. They were so good! The only thing I would do differently is to drizzle with the white chocolate next time. I think it will make it easier to cut. Spreading it over the top you have to cut or crack through the chocolate to cut the brownies into pieces. Lesson learned. I will definitely make these brownies again. They were a great taste of the holidays.

Peppermint Dark Chocolate Brownies
Serves 16


1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
I pkg Dark Chocolate Brownie mix*
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
White chocolate chips, melted
3 Peppermint candy canes, crushed


Pre heat oven to 325ยบ. Prepare a 8”x8” Pyrex baking dish with cooking spray.

Place egg, water and oil in a medium bowl and stir until fully mix. Add brownie mix and stir until well combined. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Garnish with melted chocolate and crushed peppermint.

*Note: I used Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo

Christmas 2014 and Broiled Tomatoes

We just had a great Christmas. I finally made the Turkey Gumbo Christmas Eve. Mom made the Potato Salad; and we gathered at Mom and Dad to enjoy the meal, exchange gifts and sleep over. Everyone ate light for some reason? We had lots of leftovers. Maybe they were saving room for the baked goodies I made. I fancied up some boxed dark chocolate brownies with white chocolate and candy canes. I also made Eggnog Cheesecake Muffins. Both were very easy and went over very well. More on that soon.

Christmas day we had another brunch because dear sister went in to work about noon. We made great recipes from Cuisine at Home and Foodista. Mom made her Broiled Tomatoes too. It was a delicious brunch!

The Eggs Benedict Breakfast Bread Pudding was from the November/December 2014 issue of Cuisine at home. It was so pretty, fluffy and light. It really did taste light eggs benedict. I had my doubts because the recipe called for spinach, but you really didn't taste the spinach and it added so much color to the dish. The only adjustments we made was to eliminate added salt and the wine it called for in the hollandaise sauce. We did not miss either, the ham and Parmesan had plenty of salt to season the dish. Using water in the hollandaise instead of wine worked out fine too. 
It called for both vinegar and lemon juice. I think the sauce would have been too acidic had we used the wine. I would definitely make this casserole again but I would try to cut the recipe in half. It made a ton!

The Winter Fruit Salad from Foodista was so pretty! It looked so "Christmasy". The mint and pomegranates almost looked like holly. The citrus dressing was delicious with the pears and apples. Just a delicious combination. We did take a short cut and used a jar of mandarin orange instead of supreming oranges. We also peeled the pears because their skin was a little over ripe and not a pretty light green as in the Foodista photo. It was still a very pretty salad. I would make this again too. I told Mom it would make a great pot luck dish for a Christmas party. We are going to enjoy having this recipe in our recipe box.

Mom's Broiled Tomatoes are so easy. She has been making them or some variation for years. I think it was dear sister's favorite. Mom said she makes them basically two ways; sliced like she did for brunch or as halves. Either way they are delicious. We used Swiss cheese this time because it is lower in sodium than other cheeses, but you can use mozzarella too. I need to make these more often. They make a great side for a variety of dishes.

Broiled Tomatoes
Serves 4


4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
6 oz. Swiss or Mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 slices pre-cooked bacon, chopped


Slice off both ends of the each tomato, then slice each tomato into 3 slices. Place tomato slices on a baking sheet. Top each tomato slice with cheese and chopped bacon. Turn on the broiler. Place baking sheet under broiler and broil until cheese is melted, bubbling and beginning to brown. Watch closely it happens really fast. Serve hot. Also delicious at room temperature.

Christmas evening we had planned to make a beef roast for sandwiches but like I said we had so many leftovers. We decided to wait until the weekend so we could really enjoy it. Instead we made an appetizer and had more Turkey Gumbo. The appetizer was from Holly Clegg's Trim and Terrific Cookbook. Her Shrimp, Artichoke and Avocado Dip was so different. When Mom had suggested the recipe I thought whoa that is a lot going on. It had two bunches of green onion, grainy mustard, ketchup, artichokes, avocado and shrimp. I was a little worried about the onions and mustard overpowering everything. But I was so wrong. It is delicious. Very well balanced. It made a great appetizer. It would also make a great addition to a salad plate. Another great new recipe for this family.

See I told you we had a great Christmas! I hope you and yours did too. Wishing you a great New Year as well.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Easy Egg Nog Latte

At this time of the year I love to replace the cream or creamer in my coffee with egg nog. It is so good! Ok replace may be an under statement? It ends up being more of a latte than coffee with cream. Either way it is delicious and very easy. Just brew your favorite coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. Warm your favorite egg nog and combine. I am enjoying mine today as I do a little holiday baking. I love it! You get the taste of egg nog without the traditional thick, dessert sweetness of egg nog out of the carton. I hope you enjoy this great Christmas coffee beverage too.

Easy Egg Nog Latte
Serves 1


Favorite Coffee (I used Community Dark Roast)

ground Cinnamon
ground Nutmeg
Favorite Egg Nog (I used Borden's)
1 Splenda packet, or to taste (optional)*


Brew coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg over the grounds. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 a coffee mug of egg nog. Microwave for a minute on high. Add splenda and fill mug with coffee and stir. Garnish with another sprinkling of nutmeg and enjoy!

*Note: I found I like one splenda to sweeten this latte, but it is delicious without too. Just depends on my mood that day.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Virginia is Beautiful!

Hello everyone! I haven't stopped blogging. I have been busy traveling. So now it is time to catch you up. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We observed most of our Thanksgiving traditions except for the Turkey Gumbo on Saturday. This year the turkey carcass and the leftover turkey went in the freezer. Instead I went on a wonderful trip with my "favorite person in the world". We left for Virginia the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Destination Massanutten Resort located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. We arrived in Charlottesville as the sun was going down. We shopped for a few necessities and drove in the dark to the resort. It was a winding, twisted, snow dusted drive through the woods and up the mountain. It wasn't until morning that we could see where we would call home for the week. It was so beautiful! Just look at our view from our balcony.

We planned a lot of day trips ending up here every night. I would totally recommend this method of vacationing. We had so much fun and really enjoyed going back to our "home away from home" each night. We went to the Walton's Museum in Schuyler first. I picked up a cookbook of the real Mary Ellen's recipes as a souvenir.

The next day we went to Luray Caverns, a Antique Car and Carriage Museum and then drove south along Skyline Drive back to the resort. One of the nicest caverns I have ever visited. Just beautiful as was the drive along the top of the mountain range. Beautiful!

Mirror Lake only 18" deep

Day three was a freezing rain day so we did not drive to far from the resort. We went to Elkton and had an amazing lobster roll and lobster chowder at Lobsta Rollin'. Might have been the best lobster I have had. Delicious!

The next day we went to a cooking demonstration on the resort. We had a wonderful meal of Duck breast and Autumn Squash, NY Strip with a Green Peppercorn Sauce and Bananas Foster. The instructors demonstrated the technique first then served us each course. The take away I LOVE pan sauces made with heavy cream. After filling our bellies we rolled to the car and went to a Brethren Mennonite Heritage Museum.

The kitchen in the Mennonite home
Day five we drove to Washington DC. We took the metro in and tried to see as much as we could in a day. Turns out that is not much. Our old bodies don't move that fast. We went to the Natural History Museum, the National Archives, the National Mall, and the Capital Building. We were actually there the day they were to light the National Christmas Tree. We did not get to attend that event. You have to get the tickets by lottery in advance.

The first thing we saw at the Natural History Museum

That night we drove to Fort Meade, Maryland to stay the night then on to tour the base and a stop in Baltimore for a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives pick before returning to the resort. Jimmy's Famous Seafood was definitely not a dive. It was a nice restaurant. We had an oyster sampler, shrimp bisque and sandwiches featuring their crab cakes. I really enjoyed the oyster sampler. I have never had the opportunity to taste two different oysters side by side. You really can taste a huge difference. The blue point oysters taste briny like the sea. YUM! The Chesapeake oysters were more meaty or oyster tasting. 

Our last day we left the resort and went back to Charlottesville were we saw Monticello, had Midday Fare at the Ordinary at Michie Tavern and a drive by of the University of Virginia. I loved this day. I loved touring Monticello. I had studied it at least twice in school and it was so special to me to finally be there. We both loved our meal at the Ordinary. Great fried chicken, gravy, soup and other colonial fare. I bought another cookbook there as a souvenir. I can't wait to try the recipes. I think I will try the vegetable soup first.

This was an amazing trip. I would go back to Virginia any time. It may have been the first place I could see myself moving to for an extended stay. So beautiful! I recommend you plan a trip there as soon as you can. You will not regret it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Recipe Review: Tahini Salad

Recently I discovered Tahini Salad. I had it as a side at Pita De' Novo. It was so good! It is very similar to Shepherd's Salad but instead of feta it is dressed with a tahini dressing. I really like the nutty, creamy dressing with the fresh cucumber, tomato and herbs. Well after having this new experience I started looking for recipes. I found one at Ziyad Brothers. I followed this recipe as close as possible. I did have to use garlic powder because I had used all my fresh in another recipe. I was a little skeptical about adding warm water to the dressing, so I waited to add it last. I just knew it would water down the tahini. Well let me tell you when I put the tahini into the lemon juice it was like a science experiment went off. It got really thick and almost fluffy as I stirred. So weird? But when you add the warm water it was the consistency of dressing. I searched to see if this was normal and yes others report the reaction too. So don't be surprised. You can use it as a party trick on your friends. Tahini Salad is not only delicious but entertaining as well. I hope your give it a try.

Tahini Salad
Serves 8


2 English cucumbers, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/3 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup Tahini sauce
1/2 cup Lemon juice
1/2 cup water, warm
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 bunch Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped


Dice cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions and mix together in bowl. In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, Tahini sauce, lemon juice, warm water and olive oil. Pour over cucumber mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with mint leaves and parsley, stir well. Serve chilled.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
My Pinterventures: Summer Salads Party

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Men’s Club Coleslaw

My Dad has been a member of the Men's Club at church for many years. These special men from the church plan fundraising activities to do projects around the church. Most of the time the money is for materials and they provide the hard work and talent it takes to make the improvements. One of the fundraisers is an annual Chicken Char-broil. They start days in advance with prep work and then Sunday after church they sell plates with half a char-broiled chicken, dirty rice, coleslaw and a roll. I have always asked Dad how do they make the coleslaw? Can you get the recipe? See my family really doesn't have a coleslaw recipe to call it's own. So I would love to use the Men's Club recipe as our tradition. Dad says that he is usually doing other tasks but they make tubs of it at a time so he does not know the proportions. He said they use Miracle Whip, Wishbone Italian Dressing, sugar and garlic paste. They like to use the cross-cut cabbage because it is easier to get into the foam cups they serve it in. Well I have tried a number of times to make a small batch and failed. But I think I have finally got something delicious this time. This is not the official recipe of the Men's Club. It is my version. It has great garlic flavor which is unique in coleslaw. It is not too sweet, just right. I love how savory and how easy it is to prepare. I still hope to get the secret recipe one day. I just may have to volunteer to stir the tub in order to get it. In the meantime I am happy to use this as my recipe whenever coleslaw is in order. I hope you enjoy it too.

Men’s Club Coleslaw
Serves 6 to 8


1/2 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
3 Tbsp. Wishbone Italian Dressing
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
16 oz. coleslaw mix (cross-cut if available)


Combine all ingredients except coleslaw mix in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Stir until combined well and sugar has dissolved. Stir in coleslaw mix until well covered with dressing. Served chilled.

Linking to:
Ms. enPlace: See Ya in the Gumbo
My Pinterventures: Summer Salads Party
Carole's Chatter: Food on Friday - Picnic Food

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