all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cuban Picadillo Sloppy Joes plus Tetrad with a Blood Moon and a Happy Anniversary…

I’m envious of our good Canadian friends who vacation in Cuba frequently ~ this recipe is about as close as we will get to it!

Anyway, I love picadillo!  (Say peek-ah-DEE-yoh.)  It’s derived from the Spanish verb “picar,” which means to mince into small pieces.  The basic ingredients are ground beef, onions and tomatoes, with each Latin American country having its own rendition, but its heart belongs to Cuba.

What makes the Cuban-style hash especially appetizing is the addition of green olives, capers and raisins or currants ~ it’s a great mixture of salty and sweet, with different textures and various flavors, blending together to form the distinctive Cuban dish. 

I took it one step further, and turned the picadillo into sloppy joes.  This makes a lot:  if there is any left over, you are the lucky one, as it’s even better then!  It’s comfy, home-style cooking at its best!

Cuban Picadillo Sloppy Joes


2 teaspoons olive oil
1½ cups onion, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 (15-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ cup dried currants
½ cup green olives with pimento, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Hamburger buns


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic, sauté 3 minutes.
Add beef to pan, crumble and brown.
Stir in ingredients through brown sugar.
Reduce heat to low; simmer about 20 minutes, until liquid reduces, stirring occasionally.
Stir in currants, capers and olives, cook for 5 minutes.
Serve on toasted hamburger buns.
Makes 10-12 sandwiches

Buen provecho!

By the way…
Tonight and tomorrow, kicks off a tetrad:  the first of four lunar eclipses in a row ~ the only such quartet in a span of 28 years.   A full lunar eclipse in North America will occur, presenting a blood moon.  Mars will be closest to Earth for the year.  It’s around 1:00 a.m. CST, and will last 78 minutes.  I hope to see it!  Will you be watching?

And it’s our 47th wedding anniversary tomorrow!  Our anniversary, a total lunar eclipse, income tax day, what a day!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Roasted Garlic Red Potatoes

Life’s too short for long posts and peeling potatoes; therefore,  these aren’t in this savory dish…

I’ve said it before, I’m a potato-holic ~ there’s plenty of fresh minced garlic here, plus a touch of lemon juice and Parmesan, to feed my craving. 

It could serve as a whole meal for me any time!

No wonder Mr. Potato Head is still a hit ~ I know because our grandson loves to make faces with his!

Roasted Garlic Red Potatoes


2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place potatoes in a 2-quart (8”x8”) baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients and pour over potatoes.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until fork tender, and golden brown, stirring once or twice.
4 servings


Monday, April 7, 2014

Italian-style Orange Roughy

This is a simple tasty dish with Italian flair, that's my twist on a Bush's Beans recipe.

The mild flaky fish, tomatoes and beans, plus seasonings, and a splash of red wine vinegar, makes for a delicious meal that's nutritious also.

There is no bean that is actually a "white bean."  Use your choice of beans, such as navy beans, cannelloni beans, pea beans, or Great Northern beans, which are smaller than navy beans, with similar taste and texture.

And, don't forget the thick slice of crusty bread for sopping up the juices! 

Italian-style Orange Roughy


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound orange roughy fillets
Salt and seasoned pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans (or any white bean), drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic, cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, season fish with salt and pepper and paprika.
Place in a baking dish.
Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
Add tomatoes to the skillet mixture and cook for 4 minutes.
Stir in beans, vinegar and basil.
Bring to a boil, simmer for 1 minute.
Plate fish and serve with bean mixture.
4 servings


Friday, April 4, 2014

Shrimp and Asparagus over Pasta

Kudos to Spring!  
 Fresh asparagus ~ 
and no more Winter!

Asparagus is in the Lily family, and the succulent tender spears have been considered a delicacy since ancient times.  Cato gave excellent growing instructions for asparagus in 200 BC. I wasn’t around then for his gardening lessons, but I try to avoid thick stalks of asparagus and choose the thin tender variety, which cooks faster, with less waste.

Asparagus and shrimp star in this delicious pasta dish, along with more fresh vegetables, a sprinkling of herbs and a healthy splash of wine for a delicate complimentary flavor.

This is a tasty meal for any night of the week that pulls together and cooks quickly.  It’s super ~ simple ~ healthy! 

Shrimp and Asparagus over Pasta


9 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into
2-inch pieces
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon each fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated fine


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet.
Add shrimp and sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until pink.
Remove from skillet and set aside, keeping warm.
In the same skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and onion until crisp-tender, about 7-8 minutes.
Add wine and herbs.
Return shrimp to the skillet, toss and heat through.
Serve over pasta.
Sprinkle with Parmesan.
3 servings


Monday, March 31, 2014

Baked Penne with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

This is simply satisfying, and I just had to get this fave dish of mine in one last time before grilling season is here! 

I don’t which I like better ~ the crispy browned bits of pasta sticking to the side of the baking dish or the slightly tangy cheese that’s smothering the noodles. 

This is easy ~ it’s a low-maintenance dish that you can prepare upfront, and then a half-hour before mealtime, pop it into your oven.  The oven time turns it into a savory, deliciousness for your crowd!  If there’s no crowd, the leftovers will be magnificent!

And ~ yet again, I did it, I didn’t pull out the camera until supper was about over ~ sometimes my food is camera shy and just wants to be eaten!

Baked Penne with Tomatoes and Mozzarella


1 pound penne pasta
Cooking spray
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
8 ounces mozzarella, shredded
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan


Cook pasta, al dente, following package directions.
Coat large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Add garlic and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and seasonings; cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Toss pasta with the tomato mixture.
Coat a 9” x 13” baking dish with cooking spray.
Place half of pasta in the baking dish.
Top with half of mozzarella and Parmesan, and repeat layers.
Bake in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted, hot and bubbly.
Let stand for 5 minutes.


Today is opening day for the Cubbies!!!  

Here's to a winning 2014 season!!!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Tangy and a little bit Sweet Balsamic Coleslaw ~ GO CARDS!!!

What is served alongside sandwiches in a little paper cup, always goes to family reunions and company picnics, and generally remains untouched by most people?

It’s coleslaw!   Why does coleslaw get a bum rap?

Coleslaw can be traced back to the ancient Romans, when dishes of cabbage, eggs, vinegar and spices were served.  Years later, the Dutch claimed land in New York, and grew cabbage along the Hudson River.  They shredded their cabbage for a salad and called it “koosla.”

Whether creamy with mayonnaise, sweet with pineapple or savory with bacon, I like about any version.  And, it doesn’t have to be overwhelmed with mayonnaise and sugar to be delicious; this version is the proof.

This vinaigrette combines balsamic vinegar with cider vinegar, sugar, and Dijon mustard for a smooth, tangy dressing.  It’s a colorful coleslaw that is good any time of the year.  For a particularly nutty flavor, use Savoy cabbage instead of green cabbage.

A little sweet ~ a little tangy, it’s delicious!
How about you, are you eating your coleslaw today? 

Tangy Balsamic Coleslaw


1 small head green cabbage, shredded
½ small head red cabbage, shredded
1/3 cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped parsley

For the dressing:

¼ cup sugar or Splenda
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ teaspoon celery seed
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper


Pour shredded cabbage, onions and parsley into a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, both vinegars, mustard, oil, and salt and pepper. 
Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix well.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.





Monday, March 24, 2014

Mexican-style Chicken Breast with my Taco Seasoning and some March Madness

I love March Madness!!!

Sadly, Duke upset by underdog Mercer ~ 
Harvard’s victory over Cincinnati ~
Stanford beat Kansas 
Dayton upset Syracuse  ~   
and so forth…

And no perfect brackets for the Warren Buffet billion-dollar bracket challenge.

First off, Louisville was underseeded
And now the craziness has happened
Louisville squares off with Kentucky
the Cards versus the Cats!
Friday night

Pitino can’t let it happen twice in one season!  S0…


BEAT Kentucky!!!

Now, for the chicken…

Chicken breast is the star on the dinner table endless times because it’s quick to cook, economical, low in fat and calories.  We like chicken and we like Mexican food, so this recipe is a win win!

It's colorful too!

This is a tasty simple spicy chicken dish with salsa and my homemade taco seasoning ~ which is salt-free.  Plus, it’s on the healthy side as it’s baked, and later topped with low-fat sour cream. 

If you’re looking for a new way to prepare chicken breast, and you like Mexican cuisine, chances are you will like this also. 

It’s great served with rice ~ all the makings of a delicious meal!

Mexican-style Chicken Breast


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
Low-fat sour cream
Cooking spray
Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken breasts and seasoning in a plastic bag and shake to coat well.
Coat baking dish with cooking spray, and add chicken.
Bake 40 minutes or until no longer pink.
About 5 minutes before chicken is done, top with salsa.
Serve with sour cream.

My Taco Seasoning

If you’ve never made your own seasoning blends, I hope you give this a try.  It’s simple, easier on the budget than store-bought packets, and contains no additives, no salt.

Adjust the red pepper flakes to the amount of heat you like.

I triple the recipe, adjust to the amount you like. 

Generally, use about 3 tablespoons per pound of meat.
Use sparingly, or liberally, like I do!

Keep this handy in your pantry, and you’ll never buy those seasoned packets again.  It’s easy, and good in dips, soups, sauces, veggies, and of course, taco meat!

DIY Taco Seasoning

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons corn starch


Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl, whisk or stir well.
Store in an airtight container, it keeps indefinitely.
Yields about ¼ cup.