Friday, September 19, 2014

Fajita Marinade

I've held onto this recipe for over 8 years! It dates back to our newlywed days and when I use to hand write recipes and keep it in a tangible binder. :-) We lived in a small apartment complex in downtown Huntington Beach. Our next door neighbor was a friendly, vivacious lady and she shared this "TOP SECRET RECIPE" (don't you love that phrase ?? hahaha) from her ex-husband's popular local Mexican restaurant.

And we finally used it this summer for the first time! The internet took over recipes long ago, and my poor little black binder in the kitchen has not been opened very many times since.

I needed to write this recipe down on the blog since my paper with recipe on it has gotten really raggety and prob time to discard. This is the only pic I have of using that marinade. Altho we tried steak the first time with the marinade, it didn't really do much for the steak. So the next time, (and always now) I use chicken, which I think is awesome. And I started marinading veggies, too, in a separate container or ziplock. We've used it as skewers, and also for fajitas. And even leftover fajitas into quesadillas - which were quite amazing.

Marinade awesome for Chicken and Veggies.
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/8 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Lawry's salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic (I use 2 fresh garlic cloves minced)

MARINADE OVERNIGHT. (Separate veggies from meat.)

Suggested Veggies:
Sweet or Red Onion
Bell peppers (any color)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grilled Pork Loin and Cabbage Avocado Edamame Salad

Salad recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood's "Ty's TPalahai Salad"

I only bought the red cabbage, but should have bought the nappa cabbage as well. But didn't because I only needed a small size salad for our little family. I would definitely use both cabbages next time. I also added a splash of apple cider vinegar to the dressing as well as a 1/2 of a smashed up avocado to make it creamier.

We also made a grilled delicious pork tenderloin last night. However, we didn't get to eat it until 9pm!!! It took almost 5 hours to cook! Yikes. It was large at 4 1/2 pounds. I was using a Paula Deen recipe (from her book "Southern Cooking Bible") which calls for a 3 pound loin grilled in BBQ for 1 hour. It was rubbed and marinated with 4 finely chopped and smashed garlic cloves with 1.5 teaspoons of salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil.

 It was on the grill as stated in her directions for an hour, glazing with sauce every 30 minutes. but since we didn't know the accuracy of the temperature, we moved it inside to the oven at 250 degrees for an additional 3 1/2! LIVE AND LEARN!! :-)

We also used Paula Deen's "Daddy's Tangy Grilling Sauce". We loved it! It was the bomb! The same ingredients as Palace Cafe's Shrimp Tchefunte Sauce. 

1 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
Juice of 2 lemons

Mix ingredients together in medium saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shrimp "Monica"

I love Jazz Fest back home in New Orleans. The last time I went was with Jeremy in our newlywed days, and I'm so glad I got to take him. I remember it rained the entire time we were at the festival. Kind of a bummer, but you just make do. I love camping out listening to live music at the different stages. Better than Ezra is always a favorite. I also love looking at all the crazy interesting people everywhere. But I think what I like the best is the FOOD!!! My favorites that come to mind are Crawfish Monica (creamy, spicy pasta dish with lots of crawfish) and Crawfish Bread (french bread stuffed with lots of monterrey jack cheese, cajun seasoning and crawfish tails). 

I found a copy-cat recipe for Crawfish Monica years ago and tucked it away in my recipe binder that has been neglected to my online recipe searches for the past few years. I pulled it out the other night because I was craving a creamy pasta and I had raw shrimp tails in the freezer.

This was seriously one of the BEST (and easiest) dinners I've made in a looooong time. And I gotta give credit to my sous chef -- Jeremy is always so helpful in the kitchen and helps the meal get made faster when someone is washing your green onions, stirring a pot, boiling and draining the pasta, and getting the frozen garlic bread from the wrapper to the oven. :-) Thanks Honey!

We WILL definitely be making this DISH alot!! Now I just need to go stock up on more frozen shrimp from Costco. I've always been impressed with it.

Shrimp "Monica" adapted from Gumbo Pages

  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled; 
  • 1 stick of butter 
  • 1 pint of half-and-half 
  • 1 good-sized bunch green onions, chopped (tops, too) 
  • 7- 10 cloves garlic, minced or chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp.  (or much less if you don't want spicy) Creole seasoning to taste (I use Tony Cachere's Original creole seasoning, can be found at most regular grocery stores.) 
  • 1 lb. cooked rotini pasta 
  • Parmesan Cheese 
  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, then rinse under cool water. Drain again, thoroughly. 
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot and saute onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute for 3 minutes. Add the half-and-half, then add Creole seasoning, tasting before the next pinch until you think it's right. 
  3. Cook for 12 - 17 minutes over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Add the pasta and toss well. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so over very low heat, stirring often. Serve immediately, with lots of parmesan cheese, and if you're my mom you'll probably want to add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

    (We served with buttered garlic french bread. Delish!!)

Monday, January 7, 2013

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

So... I like to put recipes on this ole blog here that I want to remember, and use again. It's been a good place for me to store favorite recipes, and I often come back here when I'm trying to plan the week's meals or get recipes easy at my finger tips rather than search through my cabinet full of cookbooks for a recipe...

We made these last night given the lack of baking ingredients we had in the house. (were out of regular choc chips AND brown sugar!) But we did have lots of cocoa, regular white sugar and half bag of white choc chips. So we halved this recipe and it still came out with a litlte over 2 dozen cookies. and they were fabulous!! 

Photo curtesy of

White Chip Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from, yield 2 dozen cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Image credit: Kristina Gill via Design Sponge

I loved this recipe found on Design Sponge via Pinterest! (I would recommend clicking on the original recipe to see more of their beautiful photos of the process.) One of my favorite things to pick up at Farmer's Markets is Butternut Squash. I made soup with it last time I got it, and this time I was dying to try this new recipe, and it did not disappoint. I figured since I already had fresh mozzarella and a block of Parm cheese, it was the perfect time to make it. It was a bit time-consuming, but well worth all of the effort. It would be a lovely dish to serve to company. 

Butternut Squash Lasagna 

1 Large Butternut squash – Peeled, cored and sliced thin 1/4 inch
1 stick Butter, separated
¼ Cup Flour
3 ½ Cups Whole Milk
6 cloves Garlic
1 handful Spinach
1 bunch Italian Parsley
10 to 14 Pasta Sheets (I bought "no boil" noodles to avoid cooking noodles separately. I was tempted to buy fresh pasta sheets from local Italian Deli, but decided to stay on-budget :-)
3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella (I used thinly sliced fresh mozzarella from Costco)
½ Cup Parmesan (freshly grated is my fave - we usually have this on hand in fridge.)
10 each Sage Leaves – Sliced Thin
1 Lemon – Zest
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

1) Roast butternut squash:
Pre-heat oven to 375F. I used a large baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and placed the squash slices on it, seasoned with salt and pepper, repeated another layer until all the butternut is layered. Covered with foil and baked for about 10- 15 minutes until the squash is cooked yet still firm enough to break apart.

2) Make cream sauce:
While squash is roasting, start on your roux: ½ stick of butter in the pot and melt until almost browned, whisk in the flour and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, Add the garlic and continue to cook at a medium heat until mixture thickens (took me about 30 minutes total, I think.) Transfer the mixture to the food processor (or blender) and blend in the Spinach/parsley. Season with salt and Pepper.

3) Assemble and bake lasagna:
Rub the Baking dish with a little butter and begin the layers: Cream Sauce, pasta sheets, Mozza, Parma, butternut – Repeat. Make sure the top layer has cheese on top. Cover with Foil and Bake for 40 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 15 or until the top is crispy golden brown.

4) Serve with Sage/Lemon Brown Butter:
While lasagna rests for 10 minutes before serving, make your Sage/Lemon Brown Butter: In small saut̩ pan bring the remaining 1/2 stick butter to a light brown color РVery hot and bubbling add sage, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spoon over a little on each piece.

Voila, truly delicious and full of winning combination flavors. And yes, men like it, too.  :-)
Image credit: Kristina Gill via Design Sponge

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lasagna Soup

My sister Jessica told me about this dinner a little while ago, and I forgot about it until I saw it on Pinterest recently. To save a few bucks, I didn't add the Ricotta cheese or fresh basil at the end. But I did use fresh mozzarella cheese, which melted perfectly in the soup after serving, which I think I'd like better than Ricotta cheese anyways.

I adapted the recipe from A Farm Girl's Dabble. (Check out her photo, it is much more appetizing than mine.)

Lasagna Soup (Yield: 8 servings)

  • 2 tsp. olive oil 
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage 
  • 3 c. chopped onions (I used one large sweet onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1/4 - 1/2  tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (depends if you want it with a kick or not)
  • 3 T. tomato paste 
  • 28-oz. can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 6 c. chicken stock 
  • 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1- 2 c. shredded FRESH mozzarella cheese 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. 
  2. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. 
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. 
  5. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  6. While the pasta is cooking, grate your parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 
  7. Serve soup with Sprinkled cheese on top and mix individually so it melts in the soup. YUM!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blue Cheese Chicken Wing Dip

I made this for our housewarming party this weekend and it was the BOMB! Big hit at the party.
Our realtor Mel is a fabulous cook and also does cooking classes on the side gave me a cookbook with some appetizer recipes, and this recipe was on the first page. After reading it, I thought it sounded so tasty, and I knew Jeremy would love it.

I bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco and shredded the meat the day before, so 1/2 before the party started I dumped all the ingredients into a saucepan and cooked til bubbly. You can serve it with celery sticks (my favorite), carrot sticks, chips, or baguette slices.

Ingredients : 

  • 1 large rotisserie chicken, all meat shredded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 bottle (depends on the heat you can handle!!) of Frank's "Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce"
  • 12-16 ounces (Lighthouse brand) blue cheese dressing

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan; heat over low heat until hot and bubbly. Stir constantly. Spoon into serving dish.