Wednesday, September 25, 2013

take my word for it wednesday.. it's time to say good bye to summer and hello to fall..


this time of year is always bittersweet.. while i love love summer and spending time at the lake and admiring these amazing animals i also love fall.. and camping, roasting marshmallows by the fire pit and trips to the mountains.. so with a heavy heart i say good bye to long summer days and warm nights.. and hello to chilly, brisk mornings and cozy cuddly evenings on the couch watching movies..

we had an end of the summer bbq with the family.. 

i made green chile mac and cheese {recipe below}

at our bbq we grilled hot links, brat wurst, hot dogs and polsa kielbasa...

i love these faces..

we made s'mores and instead of hershey's chocolate we used york peppermint patties..

we took ollie on the boat and he loved it.. he kept saying go faster teo pete go faster!!

the sun and fun wore amelia out..
well since summer is over the summer blonde is gone and red is in..

our poor fish had to much fun at the bbq and passed away :(
so we got a new little guy.. meet chum lee

our last sunset on the lake for the year.. good bye.. until next year.. 

green chile mac and cheese {recipe inspired by simply recipes}

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
servings: 6-8


2 cups macaroni {pasta}i used shells for the bbq and then bow tie pasta for another dinner
1.5 cups low fat half and half
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup pepper jack chesese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
2.5 cups chopped, roasted, seeded green chiles {or 4 4 oz. cans diced roasted green chiles} i took a 1/2 cup of the green chiles and processed through a mini food processor.. 
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs


cook pasta according to package directions.. drain and set aside.. in a dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.. when butter is melted and bubbly add flour and make a roux.. continue to cook and stir for about 2 minutes.. add half and half a little at a time stirring constantly with a whisk.. continue to whisk until thick and creamy add then 1/2 cup of the processed green chiles to the creamy mixture.. add cheese a little at a time and continue to stir until well incorporated after each addition of cheese.. add salt, pepper, the pasta and then the diced green chiles and stir until well combined.. top the mac and cheese with panko breadcrumbs.. bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees {f}, or until the panko are lightly browned.. remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

throwback thursday.. turkey chili

i've been making my chili this way for years.. and i have converted many people into liking turkey chili.. even my dad who didn't think he liked turkey has decided this is his favorite chili and requests it whenever we go camping at the beach.. well that annual camping trip is coming up and you can bet there will be turkey chili on the menu.. i am a season kind of girl.. i don't make chili, stews, soups or big cuts of meat like pot roast in the summer.. no clue why that is but my quirky brain thinks it's too "hot" for those types of dishes.. just like there are certain "summer" meals i don't make in the winter.. i know crazy but it's me.. i am the same way with clothes.. i can't bring myself to wear white after labor day.. it's like i think i will get struck down by the fashion police or something and i really have some cute white pants i think would be perfect for thanksgiving i am really really trying to plan on wearing them but i am sure i will chicken out.. *eyeroll* don't try and figure me out many have tried and many of failed .. he he i did once step out of my comfort zone and make summer chili .. and to be honest it kinda freaked me out.. now while it was delicious i kept thinking it was just wrong.. i may think i am daring and bada$$ in the culinary world..  i am basically just a wimp who follows directions in the end.. but since it's after labor day {don't mention that it's still 100+ degrees where i live} it's ok to make chili so i did the other night.. and it was so good.. but had a i tried to make it 3 weeks ago i would have had a panic attack.. ha ha i know weird.. but at least i know it's weird and that i am not right so it's all good.. :) *BIG SMILE*

spicy turkey chili

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 45 - 60 minutes {depending on how much time you have}
servings:  6-8


2 lbs ground turkey (or beef if you prefer)
1 {16 oz} can chili ready or mexican style diced tomatoes
1 {16 oz} can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 {16 oz} can of kidney beans
1 {16 oz} can of pinto beans {or black beans}
2 tblsp. of "hot" taco seasoning {my recipe below} a package of taco seasoning is fine too use too
olive oil

toppings: {optional}

shredded cheese
diced onions
diced pickled jalapenos
chopped cilantro
light sour cream
crushed fritos

a few turns around your large pot with the olive oil.. heat over a medium high and place turkey in pot and cook until evenly brown and crumbly.. add tomato paste.. stir around and incorporate into meat.. about 2-3 minutes..  add taco seasoning.. cook for about 2 -3 minutes.. add tomatoes and beans {don't drain them} bring to a boil.. reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes stirring often so it doesn't burn.. serve up in a big bowl and top with diced onions, shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream, jalapenos and tobasco... or last night i served them in flour tortillas wrapped them up in the tortillas with a little cheese, onion, cilantro and jalapeno then got my flat iron skillet hot and sprayed the burrito with a little pam and then cooked the burrito on each side on my iron skillet kind of like my grilled texas burritos but with chili instead.. serve with a side of sour cream.. talk about yummy!!

taco seasoning

prep time: 5

1 tbsp. chili powder (i use mexican hot)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ancho chili powder
1 tsp. chipolte chili powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. smokey spanish paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. course sea salt

combine and keep in an air tight mason jar so its always ready for whenever you need it..

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

take my word for it wednesday.. green chile chimichurri is scrumptious..

my amazing friend randi got 25 lbs of roasted green chile's and she was kind enough to share some with me.. one of the first things I made was this grilled butterflied leg of lamb with a green chile chimichurri.. holy moly talk about good.. the first time i had chimichurri was several years ago my mom, shell and i went to california for shell's bday.. it used to be a tradition when i was in my teens for my b day we went to beverly hills and stayed at the beverly hilton.. it was always so fun and glamorous.. i loved it.. one year i met my celebrity crush.. andy gibb *smile* that totally embarrassing story here.. well we wanted shell to experience it as well so we stayed at the beverly hilton again, it was crawling with celebrities when we went because they were hosting a portion of the academy awards one of the nights.. we went and saw wicked one night and one day we spent the day in santa monica.. where we had lunch an argentinian steak house and i had chimichurri.. i was instantly hooked.. i loved it..when i saw a recipe for  green chili chimichurri i knew i had to try it.. and let me tell you it's great {hear my tony the tiger impersonation just now?} it's was very good on the lamb, i recently had it on thin sliced rib eye which i pan fried in my iron skillet and that was wow.. and i think it would be so delish on a burger.. that's next on the agenda..

green chile chimichurri


1 bunch cilantro leaves
3 medium sized roasted green chilis, peeled and stems removed
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tbslp. capers
2 tbslp. white wine vinegar
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
salt and pepper


place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.. pulse until all ingredients are well combined.. put in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use... serve at room temperature over meat, fish or veggies..
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

bacon, lettuce, and double tomato sandwich

i love blts.. they are one of my favorite sandwiches.. i usually like a no frill blt.. on squishy white bread, 2 slices of bacon, 2 tomatoes, mayo and lettuce.. *sigh* heavenly.. but like i have said before every now again you have to jazz things up.. and this sandwich is jazzed.. it's a little spicy, a little sweet, tangy.. creamy, crispy.. every taste sensation basically in one bite.. well worth the effort to make..

bacon, lettuce and double tomato sandwich

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
servings: 2 sandwiches


6 slices of center cut bacon {my bacon was large i was able to break them in half so each sandwich got 6 slices} cooked crisp {best way to cook bacon is in the oven the easy way..}
deconstructed tomato bruschetta slices
spicy tomato jam
shredded ice berg lettuce


cook your bacon and tomato bruschetta.. once cooked and cooled slice and lightly toast your rolls then spread spicy tomato jam on the bottom and top with lettuce, then tomato bruschetta and finally bacon.. spread mayo on the inside of the top and cover sandwich..  this is one of the best sandwiches i have ever had.. it was tangy, sweet, spicy.. the bacon is cooked to perfection.. so simple yet so flavorful.. please try it..
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

spicy refrigerator tomato jam

around this time a few years ago i made this yummy spicy tomato and peach jam and i loved it.... and since i had great looking tomatoes and jalapenos a few weeks ago in my garden i decided to make todays recipe.. it was really good.. spicy.. sweet.. and perfect on my outrageously good bltt.. {which i will post tomorrow}. i remember the first time i tasted jalapeno jam.. it was probably 1990 a client gave it to my boss for christmas.. he let me try it i loved it.. i then got the name of the company that made it... i called and got their catalogue {this was all before i had a computer} i ordered a few cases.. then in 1994 i had my own business making gift baskets and i had a spicy jalapeno basket that had the jam and chocolate covered jalapenos.. it was fun.. i loved it.. i now always have a jar of jalapeno jam in my fridge.. i love to mix it with whipped cream cheese and serve with crackers.. i like to put it on eggs.. in sandwiches.. on burgers.. yummmm..

spicy tomato jam

prep time: 10  minutes
cook time:  30- 45 minutes
servings:     1 half pint jar


2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers , chopped fine
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup sugar

in a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, chopped/peeled tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice and zest...  bring to a boil over medium-low heat reduce to low and simmer for about 30 - 45 minutes.. breaking down the tomatoes.. i used the back of spoon to "mash" them towards the end.. make sure to stir regularly.. it will start to become thick and jelly like.. when done ladle into a jelly jar.. :) and refrigerate for about 12 hours before using.. and then enjoy.. its only good for about 3-4 weeks..
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

throwback thursday.. panzanella salad..

this is my favorite salad.. it's easy, it's refreshing and it's so freaking good.. my cousin is coming into town soon from cali.. and we are going to take her and her hubby on a boat ride then back to the house for a family bbq.. i am going to grill some ribeye steaks, make some twice baked taters, serve as an appetizer these spicy lemon garlic shrimp and this salad.. it's perfect for an outdoor bbq!! i can't wait..

panzanella salad

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 7-10 minutes
servings: 8-10


4 cups cubed bread {i used ciabatta}
1/2 tblsp. italian seasoning {2 tsp. each of thyme, oregano & rosemary}
1/2 tblsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
2.5 tblsp. olive oil


preheat your oven to 400 degrees {f}.. line your baking sheet with foil or parchment.. cut up your bread and put in a large mixing bowl.. in a smaller mixing bowl combine seasoning, salt, pepper and olive oil.. then pour over bread and toss to coat.. spread out in an even layer on your baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown..check after 5 minutes and toss them around so they get browned evenly.. remove when done and set aside to cool..



10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cubed
8 oz. ciliegine {small mozzarella balls, the ones i bought where marinated in olive oil and seasoning}, halved *i saved the oil*
5 sliced of pancetta, diced, cooked, drained and cooled {bacon is fine too if you don't have pancetta}


2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil {i used the oil the cheese came in and wow was it good}
salt and pepper


in a large mixing bowl or platter combine croutons, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and pancetta.. in a small mixing bowl combine dressing ingredients and whisk... about 30 minutes before serving pour dressing over salad and put in the fridge until ready to serve.. putting the dressing on now won't make it soggy, promise.. it's a really good salad.. i can't wait to use my fresh veggies from the garden.

enjoy and get cook'n!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

take my word for it wednesday.. deconstructed tomato bruschetta is yummy and so versitile..

my tomatoes are growing in full force these days.. we have had the weirdest weather lately.. out of 30 days it's rained 20 of them and it's 73 degrees outside today.. this kind of weather for around here is unheard of.. but it's been good to my garden.. so this weekend we woke up on sunday to a rainy rainy morning.. i decided to not change out of my jammies and to cook and clean all day.. now some of you are thinking why in the world why would you do that.. and truth be told i kinda like days like that.. now don't get me wrong i wouldn't want to do it every day.. but every now and again a full day of cooking and cleaning can be fun.. so i plucked some tomatoes from my garden and got started.. these yummy tomatoes i saw on pinterest.. i didn't pin it because it seemed so simple  and self explanatory and now i can't find it so i can't link back to the source i am sorry when i find it i will update this post with the original link.. these tomatoes are so good.. they could be used as a side dish for breakfast.. i served them with my green chile relleno casserole i made for breakfast on sunday {that recipe coming soon}, i also put them on my bacon lettuce and double tomato sandwich, {recipe coming soon for the sandwich and the spicy jalapeno tomato jam} which by the way might have been the best sandwich i have ever consumed.. cross my heart.. wow.. and they went perfect with the thin sliced pan seared rib eyes i made for dinner tuesday..very versatile side dish..
deconstructed tomato bruschetta
prep time: 7-10 minutes
cooking time: 20-30 minutes
servings: 4
2 large tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 of an inch thick
1 cup of panko, plain
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
chopped fresh herbs {i used oregano, basil and thyme}
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
preheat your oven to 400 degrees {f}.. line a baking sheet with foil.. spray lightly with pam {i used the organic olive oil pam} lay your tomatoes on the baking sheet.. in a small bowl combine panko, cheese, herbs and garlic.. salt and pepper your tomatoes.. sprinkle with panko mixture and then drizzle a little olive oil over each slice.. bake for about 20-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly golden brown.. remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh thyme and serve immediately.. for the sandwiches i let them cool about 10-15 minutes before assembling my sandwiches...
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

throwback thursday.. navajo tacos..


i am reading a book and the lead character is a caterer and for one of her parties she is serving navajo tacos.. and it totally reminded me of my super easy cheater indian tacos.. so for this throwback thursday i thought i would bring this recipe back to the forefront.. ever since they mentioned it my book i haven't been able to stop thinking about it.. so much so we are having it for dinner tonight!!they really are worth trying... {these pictures are weird they are from november of 2011, sorry for the photos.. i know julia child would always say never say your sorry for any meal you serve but she never said anything about apologizing for the photos!! ha ha}

navajo tacos

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
servings: 3


1 premade purchased pizza dough
1.5 lb ground turkey {or beef}
2 tblsp. taco seasoning {store bought or my recipe here}
1/4 cup of water
canola oil
shredded cheddar cheese
onion, diced
tomato, diced
cilantro, chopped
sour cream
in a medium pot over medium heat brown your meat until crumbly.. add taco seasoning and water and combine and turn heat to simmer.. while its simmering take your pizza dough and cut off a chunk...on a well floured surface roll out your "chunk" to about a 1/4 inch thick and mine were like a 6" by 3" rectangle.. then i took my flat iron skillet i use for tortilla's and put it on a medium-high heat and then added a very very light coating of oil and "fried" my shell that way they kinda puff up.. but there really wasn't that much oil at all.. i repeated that until i had made six shells.. then spread refried beans, layer on meat mixture, top with cheese, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and sour cream.. yummyyyy.. we ate it like a tostada..
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

greek fries

we used to have a restaurant in town by unlv {our local university} it was called paymons.. the best greek food around.. i would get stuffed grape leaves and well greek fries.. i could never pinpoint the exact flavor combination but it was wonderful.. they then opened one downtown by my old office and we went as often as we could.. i got to talking to the waiter and chatted him up one afternoon{hoping to get the recipe} for the fries.. i didn't get it but i did get some of the ingredients and well from there i experimented until i got it to what i thought was pretty close to their fries.. i haven't eaten there in years and the one downtown closed and i believe the one by the university closed as well :( luckily when i am in the mood i can whip these up pretty quickly and get my greek fry fix..

greek fries

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 25-35 minutes
servings: 4 or in my case 1 *wink*


3 large baking potatoes, sliced into fries {or 1 bag of frozen shoe string potatoes}
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. dried oregano {i grew greek oregano dried it out and crumbled it}
salt and pepper
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

{optional toppings}

fresh chopped oregano


pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees {f}.. line a baking sheet with foil and spray with pam.. cut your potatoes into fries.. {you can cut them into steak fries or wedges if you prefer} in a small mixing bowl combine all the other ingredients and whisk.. pour over fries and toss to coat.. bake fries for 15 minutes and remove from oven and with  spatula moved them around  and flip over so they evenly brown.. add back to the oven cook another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.. remove from oven.. if you want top with feta and fresh chopped oregano.. i opt not to do that but others might want too.. i like to serve them with a little tzatziki sauce..

enjoy and get cook'n!!