Monday, July 1, 2019

Tortilla Pie

This is an old family favorite that's got it all in a wedge: taco meat filling, seasoned black beans, avocado and lots of melted cheese! It's a bit of a weeknight show stopper but easy enough to throw together in a hurry. I found that when I needed to bring a casserole to someone, it was a great option since it's different from the typical lasagna everyone else makes.


1 pound ground beef
5 tortillas large (10 inch) or 10 small (7 inch), flour or corn
2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 (15oz.) can black beans
1 ripe avocado
Juice of one lime, about 2 tablespoons
*Taco seasoning mix, store bought or make your own
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

*To make your own taco seasoning mix combine 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper.


Pour tomato sauce in pan and add 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning.

Stir the seasoning into the tomato sauce and place over medium heat until it simmers.

Turn the heat down to low, stir occasionally and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Drain and rinse the beans. Put the beans in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in 2 teaspoons lime juice and 2 teaspoons taco seasoning.

Peel and scoop the avocado in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons lime juice and 2 teaspoons taco seasoning and mash together.

Brown hamburger over medium heat, drain grease. Stir in 2 cups of the tomato sauce into the cooked hamburger.

Assemble the Tortilla Pie 

(If using small tortillas, cut filling amounts in half & make two pies)

1. Smear 1/4 cup around the bottom of the pie pan. Place a tortilla on top of sauce. Spoon 1/2 the meat mixture on top. 

2. Put a second tortilla on top and spread black bean mixture on top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. 

3. Cover with a third tortilla and ladle on the rest of the meat sauce.

4. Place the fourth tortilla on top and spread the avocado mixture over the surface.

Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese.

5. Put the 5th tortilla on top and pour remaining reserved tomato sauce mixture on top. 

Bake for 30 minutes.

6. Put remaining shredded cheese on top of stack, return to oven and bake 5 or so minutes more until the cheese on top has melted.

7. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves.

Cut tortilla pie into fourths and serve.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Un-Bagel Breakfast Salad

Late last summer in our travels out east, we found ourselves in Portland, Maine. Bon Appetit had just named it as the “Restaurant City of the Year” and a deli, Rose Foods, got a big mention by the magazine. I played into the hype and talked Roy into going there for breakfast. We split the large-sized Classic Nova Bagel Sandwich. I had a coffee and Roy had orange juice. The total bill was a bit pricey at $25. Was it delicious? Yes! The cold smoked salmon was so good with the capers, cucumber and dill, that I could have ordered another one and eaten it all by myself. When we got back home, I found myself craving the flavors, but didn't want to indulge in the carbs. I figured a brunch salad situation might work. I've served this a couple of times when the girls were home, and it seemed to be a big hit. Whole Foods and even Costco are good places to get smoked salmon. And fresh dill -if you have it on hand- makes this alternative breakfast even better. 

Ingredients for Four Salads

4 eggs

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon and 1 whole lemon, sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

5 oz. bag or tub of spring mix salad greens

1 small cucumber

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 oz. sliced smoked salmon

4 teaspoons capers

*2 teaspoons everything bagel seasoning


*Use prepared everything bagel seasoning or mix up a batch of your own and save what you don't use here for something else: 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.

Make the jammy eggs: fill a sauce pan with water; bring it up to a boil; gently lower the eggs in the water; boil 7 minutes; plunge them into ice water; wait 2 minutes and peel. Set aside.

Whisk together the olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.

Thinly slice the cucumber and half the tomatoes. Set aside.

Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Set aside.

Assemble the Salad

Divide the salmon among four serving plates - or put on one large platter.

Place the 1/4 of the greens next to the salmon on each plate.

Arrange 1/4 of the tomatoes and cucumbers on each plate.

Cut each egg in half and place two halves on each plate.

Drizzle the dressing over the lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes.

Smear a tablespoon of mayonnaise mixture on the edge of each plate.

Place a couple lemon slices on each plate.

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of everything seasoning over the eggs, greens, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Put 1 teaspoon capers on top of the cucumber slices.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Quarterly Cookbook Giveaway: Indian-ish and the Winner!

Congratulations to Desiree Summerhill from Kalamazoo!
And thank you to all who entered the quarterly cookbook giveaway!
I'm already excited about the next one - suggestions anyone?

Over all the years I've had fun with this blog, I have had very few giveaways. The best offering was a set of T-Fal pots and pans courtesy of a now defunct website, Cooking Planit - I developed recipes for it and was, for a hot minute, an influencer. Once I gave away a pint of frozen cookie dough from a company that is also no longer operational, Green Field Cookie Dough. But I guess that's to be expected since I've had this blog for so long. I started it as a hobby - and that's still what it is - to share recipes with my three daughters and friends. Along the way I got some readers who became friends. Of course I wish I would have started with WordPress, but back then I was working full time and trying to keep my head above water and Blogger made it so easy. That's why this cookbook, Indian-ish by Priya Krishna with her mom Ritu Krishna grabbed my attention.

It reads like an entertaining family memoir and it's filled with recipes Ritu, a busy, working mom, developed. Priya, a writer for Bon Appetit and the New York Times, put it all together with humor and love. What's interesting about these recipes is that while they have a flavor profile that's definitely Indian, they use ingredients such as olive oil or sourdough bread. And - they are all fairly easy. They remind me how I could get a decent meal together for three kids and a hungry husband in 30 minutes or less. Check out what I cooked up:

The Most Basic Dal

Dal is really just soupy lentils and yes, the flavors in this recipe did have a basic taste - but one that grew on me. The best thing about this recipe was that it introduced me to Chhonk. Chhonk is essentially letting spices bloom in oil, and then adding the mixture into a finished dish. 

Basic Kachumber

Kachumber is salad and this is just a simple chopped one dressed with only salt and lime juice. It was a perfect accompaniment to the dal above. 

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Pea Chutney

The technique this recipe gave for roasting a whole cauliflower was great and one that I'm going to use from now on. It would have been even more impressive if I could have kept the cauliflower whole! I was just a bit too aggressive when I cut out the stem! The pea chutney is definitely spicy and Indian-ish. 

Dahi Toast

This was my favorite! It's a tangy grilled yogurt sandwich finished with chhonk. It is even better with the suggested Cilantro Chutney and/or Priya's dad's sauce of choice, ketchup.

So, here's the deal:

I got so jazzed up about trying out a new cookbook, that I decided to share the joy quarterly.

This quarter, I will send a copy of Indian-ish to one lucky winner.

Email me at and send me a photo of something that YOU have made from Yates Yummies. Please include where you are from.

Don't worry, the photo doesn't have to be great! And - it can be something you have made in the past.

I'll accept "entries" until midnight, Sunday, June 16th. (Father's Day)

On June 17th, I'll announce the randomly chosen winner right here, on this post. I'll just update it with the magic of editing!

Good Luck - I can't wait to hear from you!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

End of the #lunch Series - Number Nine

While it's the end of the line for this #lunch series - I literally do not have anymore photos of lunches perched on my IKEA table in Florida - this concluding installment is a really yummy bunch! The Miso Flavored Chicken Noodle Soup is such a cheat, but so delicious. I used noodles left over from the night before and I'm not ashamed to admit that canned broth is one of the best time savers known to man. The Lemony Chickpea and Rice Salad is pure comfort food! Once again, I used left overs in the form of rice and opened up a can, this time of chickpeas. The Kale Salad is a scaled back version of an old family favorite and was the perfect backdrop for some really good heirloom tomatoes. And finally, the Simple Salad Nicoise is also a short cut for the real deal found in an old post here. It seemed like a great use for left over green beans and roast chicken. I'd love to hear back if anyone makes these little meals - shoot me an email at - thanks!

Miso Flavored Chicken Noodle Soup - Serves Two


1 (15 oz,) can chicken broth
1 cup cooked noodles
1 cup spinach leaves
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce or a sauce such as Maggi, Tamari, or low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Thai basil leaves (optional)

Place the chicken broth in a sauce pan and whisk in the miso and soy sauce. Heat the liquid to a boil.

While heating the broth, place 1/2 cup noodles, 1/2 cup spinach and 1/2 cup chicken in each of two bowls.

Pour a cup of the boiling broth over the contents of each bowl. Sprinkle each bowl with 2 tablespoons of Thai basil leaves, if using.

Lemony Chickpea and Rice Salad - Serves Four


2 cups cooked rice
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup spinach leaves
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes

Place rice, chickpeas, spinach leaves and onion in a bowl.

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cumin.

Pour dressing in bowl and gently toss. Divide into four servings.

Sprinkle each serving with a 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper or chili flakes.

Kale Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes - Serves Two


1 bunch dinosaur or lacinato kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 varied heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Wash and dry the kale leaves. Fold each leaf in half, cut the rib out. Roll up the remaining leaf and cut to shred.

Put kale, lemon juice, salt and pepper flakes in a salad bowl. Toss to coat.

Divide into serving plates and top each with three or so slices of tomatoes.

Simple Salad Nicoise - Serves Two


1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed and dried
1 cup cooked green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 (6 oz,) can tuna, drained or 1 cup shredded or chopped chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, put through a press or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Divide the butter lettuce leaves between two serving plates. Arrange beans, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes and tuna or chicken on top.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
Drizzle 3 tablespoons of dressing over the two servings.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

#Lunch Series Number Eight

We have been home from Florida for almost two weeks now, but I'm still trying to finish up on posting the recipes for my Instagram #lunch photos. Posting these dishes is a bit of a cheat - most were made from leftovers and a lot of the recipes for them have been already posted on this blog. Hence, some include links to follow. But, all the #Lunch Series posts I've done are real favorites and I find myself craving them over and over again.

Curried Red Cabbage Slaw - Serves Four


4 cups shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a bowl, combine cabbage, onion, sunflower seeds and raisins.

Whisk together oil, vinegar, curry powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Drizzle dressing over cabbage mixture to coat. 

If desired add cooked sweet potato cubes and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Follow this link for an easy roasted chicken recipe.

Chopped Mediterranean Salad - Serves 4


1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cup chopped parsley leaves, flat leaf or curly or a combination of both
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped chicken, optional
1 teaspoon sumac for sprinkling optional

Combine cucumber, tomato, parsley, onion and chicken if using in a bowl. Whisk together oil, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the cucumber mixture. Divide onto plates and if desired, sprinkle each serving with sumac.

Chicago Dog

Place a cooked all beef hot dog in a bun. Poppy seed buns are the authentic choice, but unless you are around Chicago, they may be hard to find. Top the dog with yellow mustard, minced onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, pickle relish, diced tomatoes, pickle and a sprinkling of celery salt.

Avocado Brunch/Lunch Salad - Serves Four


2 avocados, peeled and chopped
8 slices of bacon, turkey or regular, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon red onion, diced.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Chili flakes for sprinkling

Place the avocados, bacon, tomatoes, onion, oil, vinegar and salt in bowl. Gently toss. Divide onto serving plates. Top with poached eggs and sprinkle with chili flakes.

Monday, April 15, 2019

#Lunch Series Number Seven

Here is my seventh quartet of #Lunch recipes. Once again, I used left overs, for instance the peppers and onions from fajitas in the grilled cheese. And, don't be afraid to change these recipes up and make them your own, just like I did with the lentil soup below.  But don't just limit them to lunch - they are great for dinner too!

Pulled Pork Tacos - Serves Six to Eight

Ingredients for the Pulled Pork:

2 pound pork shoulder roast
1 (15 oz.) can beef broth
4 cloves garlic, put through a press
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Plenty of corn tortillas to serve with Cabbage Salad and Pickled Onions
This link for Cabbage Salad and Pickled Onions 


Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit or get out your crock pot and set it on high. Pour the beef broth into a deep baking pan or into the crock pot.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, olive oil, lemon pepper, chili powder and smoked paprika. Trim any excess fat and remove any string from the roast. Rub the garlic mixture into the roast.

Lower the spice rubbed roast into the baking pan or the crock pot. Cover the baking pan with foil or put the lid on the crock pot. Allow the roast to cook for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is easily shredded with a fork.

Remove the roast from the pan or pot and place on serving platter. Scrape away any excess fat. Using two forks, shred the meat. Spoon some of the cooking liquid onto meat.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, Cabbage Salad and Pickled Onions.

Sort of Homemade Tomato Soup - Serves Four


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 slices good bread
2 garlic cloves, put through a press
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Cream or extra evaporated milk for drizzling


Make croutons by cutting the bread slices into cubes. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add bread cubes. Cook the bread crumbs about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pan. Add the garlic and basil leaves. Saute them for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for five minutes. Take off the heat. Stir in the evaporated milk. Pour into bowls and serve with croutons floating on top. Drizzle with some cream or extra evaporated milk if desired.

Grilled Cheese with Fajita Peppers and Onions

Ingredients for Each Sandwich:

2 slices good bread
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices white cheddar
*2 to 3 tablespoons fajita style bell peppers and onions

*Slice any color bell peppers of your choice, enough to total 2 peppers and place in a microwave safe dish. Peel and slice a yellow onion and add to peppers. Mix with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup plain white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon oregano. Pour olive oil mixture over peppers and onions. Cook peppers and onion mixture in microwave for 5 minutes. (This is just delicious when you mix the cooked pepper mixture with sliced Tex Mex Chicken and served as fajitas.)

To Assemble Sandwich:

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Put a slice of cheddar cheese on each not oiled side. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the fajita pepper mixture on top of the cheddar on one slice. Put the sandwich together, oiled sides facing out. Place a skillet over medium low heat and coat surface with just a bit of olive oil. Put sandwich in a skillet and  - only turning once - brown each side about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan, let cool for a minute and slice in half to serve.

Polly Castor's Lemony Lentil Soup with Turmeric

Click on this link for Polly's original recipe for Lemony Lentil Soup with Tumeric from her wonderful blog,

Full disclosure - I made some adjustments due to the fact I really wanted to make this soup but didn't have everything on hand!

I used 1 cup of regular lentils instead of red lentils.

I did not have any leeks, so I used a yellow onion instead along with 2 garlic cloves, pressed.

I did not use the mustard seeds.

I did not deglaze the pan with the juice of a lemon, but just used the broth called for in the recipe.

I did not puree the soup.

I added just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice at the end of cooking.

I drizzled uncooked greens and Greek yogurt with a lemon dressing of 1/4 cup olive oil whisked with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of pepper.

Even with my adjustments, the soup was so, so delicious and I'm dreaming of it right now!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Another Round of #Lunches - This Makes Number Six

As you know by now, I'm a woman who doesn't just lunch - I eat! I'm posting four more of my recent lunches, mostly made with the help of leftover salads - even day old ones with dressing on them. I a bit shocked at how tasty they were. My challenge to myself to post my #lunch pics on Instagram is over and I'm almost done with sharing them here. So bear with me; I've only got one more set to do after this round! If you want to see all the lunches go to the blog and scroll down.

Roasted Marinated Vegetables & Chicken

To assemble this salad, I put down a bed of spinach on a plate and then topped it with some chicken and veggies.

 I used leftover sliced Zesty Chicken Oregano , which is a recipe you really should have in your bag of tricks due to the fact that you can do so many things with it.

 The marinated roasted vegetables were actually just a leftover Tomato Bean Salad that I roasted along with some cauliflower florets. I laid the bean salad and cauliflower on a foil covered sheet pan. It all roasted in a 375 degree oven (or even place the pan on the grids of a medium hot grill) for 20 to 25 minutes until the veggies got brown.

I topped it with a dollop of an aioli type mixture comprised of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. 


Spinach & Quinoa Stir Fry with Roasted Squash and Peppers

I took a serving of leftover Sunshine Spinach Salad and put it in a skillet - walnuts, oranges and all. I sauted it over medium heat until spinach wilted even more than it already had. Then I added a serving of cooked quinoa and mixed it in. After putting it on a serving plate, I topped it with roasted peppers and squash - I tossed them with a couple drizzles of olive oil as well as salt and pepper. They can either be roasted in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or grill them over medium heat. I finished it all off with some a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of vinegar and a sprinkle of Kosher salt.

Jennifer's Favorite Curried Chicken Salad 

 Ingredients for Four Servings:

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 apple, diced (Granny Smith is best if you have it)
2 tablespoons diced celery
2 tablespoons dried raisins
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (pecans are great, but any or none will do)
2 tablespoons diced onion (white, yellow, red or green)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the chicken, apple, celery, raisins, nuts  and onions in a bowl. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add enough of the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken combination to coat it well, but not have the chicken be swimming in it. Serve on top of greens.

Chickpea Salad with Lemony Salted Yogurt and Plenty of Dill

Ingredients for Two Servings

1 (15 oz.) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 medium cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon diced red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 bunch of fresh dill and pita bread for serving

Gently combine all chickpeas, tomato, avocado, onion, olive oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl. Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Divide chickpea mixture between two plates. Put 2 tablespoons of  yogurt mixture to side. Serve with pita and fresh dill.