Friday, April 10, 2020

Red Sauce Enchiladas

Well, we're all cooking at home and it's all about what we have on hand...

A couple days ago, I talked to my neighbor from our driveway as she was sitting in her car. "This stay at home stuff is really cramping my style. I'm used to running to the store everyday to pick up what I want to make for dinner!"

 A bit later, Jenn called up for the recipe for the enchiladas that I made her the last time she was home. Then, I had used chicken, but the meat she had on hand was ground beef. No problem! I just told her to brown and drain it and go on with the recipe. I mentioned my earlier conversation with the thought that during this time, the thing to do is "shop" in your own refrigerator and pantry.

So, in this recipe, go ahead and use any meat or cheese that you have. No tomato sauce? Dilute a can of tomato paste with two cups of water or puree a can of diced tomatoes. No can of diced tomatoes? Chop up fresh ones. It's the spices that make this dish yummy and hopefully, they are in your home store! If you have a question about substitutions, please email me at I'd love to hear from you!

Ingredients for 6 to 8 Red Sauce Enchiladas:

2 cups any kind of meat (shrimp, cooked chicken, browned ground beef, pulled pork)
6 to 8 tortillas (any size, flour or corn)
1 (15 oz,) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
3 cups shredded cheese (Colby jack, cheddar, Monterey Jack)
1/2 cup diced onions
2 tablespoons canned diced green chilies (or sub 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes)
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided

Add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the tomato sauce.

Stir it really well to combine the spices into the tomato sauce. Set aside.

In a bowl mix the meat, tomatoes, onions, green chilies,  1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 pepper.

Coat the bottom of a casserole baking dish with some of the tomato sauce mixture.
Brush or spread the inside of each tortilla with a bit of the sauce.

Place about 2/3 cup of the chicken mixture and 1/4 cup shredded cheese in each tortilla.

Roll each tortilla and place seam side down in baking dish. If you end up making more than six enchiladas, they could be crammed in lengthwise, below the rolled up tortillas. 

Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce mixture over the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. 

Serve with garnishes, sour cream or a side salad. Dig in! 

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Poor Girl’s Fatty

When we went down to Florida this winter, we had about 18 little one-pound packages of ground beef in our motor home freezer. We had split a cow with Roy’s brother and our home freezer was full of  it. Having all that meat was perfect for making lots of burgers (and even for smoking meatloaf!), but after a while I needed a cure for hamburger boredom. Our next door site neighbor, Dave, is a genus when it comes to BBQ. He told me about a Fatty. It is supposed to be stuffed with what ever you fancy, wrapped in bacon and cooked in a smoker  I decided to cheat by ditching the bacon and doing  it on the grill- but it could easily be baked in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. Anyway, I had fun! The first time I did it, it looked perfect- but I didn’t take photos! The second time was a disaster and the third, mostly seen here, was average looking. I hope you have as much fun as I did with it. Let me know at

What you need:

A ziplock plastic bag
A pair of scissors
At least a pound of ground beef
Lemon pepper
Garlic salt
Things to add such as spinach leaves, hard boiled eggs, olives - anything goes...


Put the hamburger in a plastic bag.

Roll it from side to side, but not too thin- it's better not to roll it all the way up to the zip top.

Use a pair of scissors to cut the bag open, but leave the rolled out meat on the bag. Sprinkle the meat with the seasonings.

Let the plastic bag sort of aid you, as you start with one side and roll it up. Above is what happened when I rolled the meat out too thin.

This one worked out a little bit better! Sprinkle more seasoning on top before cooking.

Either bake the rolled up meat at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes, or transfer to a  quarter sheet pan and place on a medium heat grill. After about 10 minutes, carefully roll over the "fatty" and let it cook on the other side. If you have a meat thermometer, it is done at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you aren't sure, cut into it and if it looks raw, put it back in the oven or on the grill.

Slice it and serve it up. It doesn't look pretty, but its pretty yummy!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Brothy, Smoky Beans

These brothy, smoky beans are just great as a side to grilled meats, pulled chicken and pork or even smoked meatloaf. They can be a whole meal if leftover bbq meats are added! I discovered that they are at their tastiest best when left to sit in their seasonings for at least a while before they are  heated up. I’m a big fan of using time saving canned beans and broth. I’d love to know if anyone makes these easy and yummy beans; send me an email at


1 (15 oz.) can black beans
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pinto beans
1 cup beef broth
1/4 teaspoon Chilean merken spice mix (or sub 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika, pinch cayenne pepper)
Limes for serving

Prepare this the night before- or at least the morning of- (but don’t cook it until ready to serve) to make it the most flavorful .

Drain and rinse the black beans and place in a smallish bowl. Sprinkle the lime juice, chili powder, ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt, garlic powder and pepper. Give the beans a good stir, cover, and store in refrigerator.

Drain and rinse the two cans of pinto beans. Place beans in medium large bowl. And the remaining 1/4 Kosher salt and the merken (or use substitute spices above). Give it a stir and pour in the beef broth.
Place in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, add the black beans to the pintos.  Either heat the beans in a pot by bringing to a boil and then turning the heat down- or, just heat in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes until hot.

Serve with lime slices for squeezing.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Roasted Cauliflower with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Roasted cauliflower is a great blank canvas and the perfect vehicle for an easy spicy sauce to ride around in! But this sauce is equally as yummy when it's on any roasted veggie- especially eggplant.

And by the way (don't we all love that phrase!), after years and years, I finally upgraded my phone all the way to an iPhone 11. Instead of taking the photos on this post with my Canon Rebel, I shot them with the iPhone. Besides that- I didn't even alter them with any of filter or program. (Perhaps you are thinking I should have.) So what do you think? I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts at 

Ingredients for 2 to 4 servings:

1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons vinegar, (I used red wine vinegar here, but plain is best)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press 
Greek Yogurt
A handful of  herbs such as cilantro, basil, mint, parsley or dill


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or fire up the grill to medium high heat.

Wash the head of cauliflower, pull back the large green “leaves” and cut off the stem at the bottom. Slice the head in half and then cut out the core at the bottom of each half. Separate into florets and place on baking sheet. A quarter sized sheet works great.

Drizzle the cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Put sheet in oven or in grill with door closed. Bake 20 minutes. Gently turn each floret over to allow other side to brown. Continue to bake another 10 minutes. Florets should easily pierce with a fork and have some deep golden brown spots when done.

While cauliflower is roasting, make the spicy tomato sauce.

Combine tomato paste, vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper flakes, cumin, pepper and garlic. Either microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or heat up to just a boil in a pan.

Place roasted cauliflower in bowl, add heated sauce and gently mix to coat.

Serve with handfuls of herbs and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Arugula Sweet Potato Salad

This is the easiest salad ever - and maybe one of the prettiest. It's also super yummy. The arugula really works well with the apple, sweet potato and red onion. The apple cider vinegar dressing seals the deal. It's something that can be thrown together very quickly, especially by using the microwave to cook the potatoes. It's a very portable salad/side to bring to a pitch-in/potluck, just don't put the dressing on until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Four Servings:

4 cups arugula
2 large sweet potatoes
2 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds 
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Wash and pierce each sweet potato a few times. Microwave on high about 6 minutes until they feel tender when squeezed but not mushy. Slice them open length wise, allow to cool, then cut into 1/4 inch cubes, leaving skin behind.

Spread 1 cup arugula on each of four salads plates or put all four cups on one huge platter.  Put sweet potato cubes,  diced apple, diced onion, and pomegranate seeds on top of arugula. 

Whisk vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together. Pour vinegar and oil mixture over ingredients and serve.

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Oatmeal Buckwheat Pancake Mix- An Easy Homemade Gift

I had been listening to foodie type podcasts of Christmas past, when I heard this idea on an episode of Bon Appetit Foodcast. The topic was edible gifts and this sounded very doable since I already had all the dry ingredients on hand, including lots of jelly sized ball jars. All the receiver of a jar has to do is add the perishable, wet ingredients to make surprisingly fluffy pancakes.

I did do some altering such as leaving out flax seeds and exchanging buttermilk for regular milk (or a nut milk) and vinegar. The original recipe called for whirling everything in a blender, but I don't like extra steps and I do like the fact that unblended pancakes have texture.  Since the recipe calls for buckwheat flour and oatmeal, it could claim to be gluten free.  If needed, I think the buckwheat flour could be changed out for all purpose flour. 

Small confession: because I bought my oatmeal and buckwheat from an Amish bulk food store, I jazzed the "Just Add" label of the mix up to say "Amish Oatmeal Buckwheat Pancakes".  It just sounded better - ha! (There's an old story that people were giving a liter of puppies away for free, but no one was interested in them. When they put out a sign that said "Amish Puppies for $50", the pups were all sold in half an hour!)

What's in the jar:

1 cup old-fashioned oats 
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

What's on the Label - What Needs to be Added

2 eggs
1/4 cup of melted butter
1 cup milk (can be nondairy)
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

Just stir the dry and wet ingredients together and fry as a regular pancake.  They are great with maple syrup or even yummy with just butter and a fried egg on top.

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Ruby Red Clam Sauce

So it's the weekend before Thanksgiving and you have lots of family coming in? Maybe the cousins from Detroit or the kids are home from college? Well, they all want to eat and but who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen right before the most labor intensive cooking day of the year?

I learned this fast, little cheat of a recipe from Ruby Menozzi, a Florida friend from Upstate New York. Ruby and her husband Ed come from huge families and they are used to feeding a lot of people, without being stuck behind a stove.

This easy recipe feeds a crowd with little effort because it relies on ingredients such as canned clams, tomato juice, and tomato paste. In fact, Ruby uses garlic from a jar and dried parsley- but even I couldn't go that far! (But it could be done!)  If someone feels that bad about cheating with canned clams, run to Sam's Club or Costco and get some frozen clams. Steam them and stick the shells on the top when it served - but wait - who wants to go to all that trouble!

Ruby Menozzi's Red Clam Sauce - Serves 8


Several glugs of olive oil - enough to cover the bottom of a large pot to about 1/8 inch
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 whole head of garlic, each clove peeled and put through a press or finely minced
1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (6 oz.) can chopped clams
1 (10 oz.) can whole clams
1 pound of pasta cooked according to package directions


Put oil in pan and warm it up over medium heat. Add pepper flakes, oregano and parsley. After they sizzle for 30 seconds, add the garlic and saute for another 30 second.

Pour in the tomato juice. Whisk in the tomato paste. Add the chopped clams along with the juice.

Turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for an hour or so.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, drain and add the can of whole clams. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the liquid from the clams and some water. Simmer another 10 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti, linguine, or even zucchini zoodles.

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