Monday, March 30, 2015

Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce

My mother-in-law once told me about a book she read that listed "the best of everything."  I can't recall all that was in the book but I do remember them saying that Peugeot made the best pepper mills.  I have two of them and I would have to concur.  The other item from the list that stood out was Sara Lee Pound Cake.  Now don't get me wrong, I love to bake and I really enjoy making things from scratch.  Occasionally time doesn't allow for that, but I still want a dessert that is a crowd pleaser and tastes great.  I made this simple sauce, that's bursting with berry flavor and I knew it would be perfect served over a simple slice of pound cake.  It's a vibrant red color, both tart and sweet.  The humble slice of pound cake became an elegant, time-saving dessert once it was topped with Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce.  I think it would be fabulous over brownies, ice cream or Angel Food cake too, and it might even be good as a dip ;) 
Sweet and Tart and Vibrantly Red
Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce
Great over ANYTHING!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taco Salad with Homemade Taco Ranch Dressing

Yay for Taco Tuesday and Yay that Spring and warmer weather are finally here.  I can pack up the chili and mashed potatoes and stew and stuff until Fall and start feeding my family fresh salad for dinner.  There's no question everyone in this house loves taco salad.  And there are so many variations.  But my favorite is truly just taco ingredients served in salad form.  Which is tasty but not very exciting.  So I whipped up a Homemade Taco Ranch Dressing to go along.  And, to take it to the next level I made a pretty presentation using my Le Creuset Chip & Dip set.  It's not just for chip and dips!  Mr. DD and the Little Devil were really impressed with the presentation.  It made an ordinary Tuesday night meal extra special.  You could just throw it all in a bowl, or layer it too.  Add black olives or avocados if that's your thing.  Just add some Homemade Taco Ranch and enjoy!

Homemade Taco Ranch Dressing
Make Taco Tuesday Special...

Check out the fun presentation...
Think outside the box. 
I used my Le Creuset Chip & Dip Set

You need some Homemade Taco Ranch
to make your Taco Tuesday Tasty!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fried Cabbage & Bacon

So my Devilish Nephew (who is my pseudo-son) lives in Houston.  He's engaged to be married this Spring.  Whenever he comes home to visit, I try to stuff him with food.  Because nothing feels better as a Mom (or pseudo-mom in this case) than making sure your family has a home cooked meal.  He and his sweet fiancee came home for an engagement party/shower a couple of weeks ago.  I usually prepare a Mexican food feast for him, but I knew the menu at the shower was going to be Mexican.  So I went back to my roots and opted for a home style meal instead.  We had Fried Cabbage and Bacon, Cowboy Beans, Cucumber Salad and Cornbread.  My nephew was fat and happy with the results.  From time to time he calls me for recipes, and I've shared many and gifted him many cookbooks.  When dinner was over he said, "I'm gonna need that cabbage recipe before I go home." Which I think is the greatest compliment of all!

Home Cooking at its best...
A home cooked feast for my sweet nephew!
Here he is along with his beautiful fiancee.
Aren't they just gorgeous?
And clever too.  I told you they came home
for a shower.  The hosts of the shower were
some of the nephew's fraternity brothers.
The "Host" gifts were six-packs of beer
that is brewed in Houston with a cute tag.
Thanks for BREWING up a great shower!
Isn't that cute???

Monday, March 16, 2015

Copycat Chili's Queso

Mr. DD is a Queso  Connoisseur.  Seriously, I think his blood type is Ro*Tel and Velveeta.  Not only does he think it's one of the four food groups, he thinks it is a condiment.  Salt, pepper, ketchup, and queso should be available at all times.  It gets a little redundant so I'm always on the lookout for queso variations to try out.  Everyone raves about the queso at Chili's so I thought I would give this one a try.  It's rich and hearty and I think you'll rave about it too!
Queso Connoisseur Approved!
I just love my Le Creuset Saucier Pan
It's pretty enough to serve from!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chimayo Salsa

I don't have to tell you that Santa Fe is my favorite place on earth.  I love everything about New Mexico, especially the food.  When we visit we really enjoy shopping at the Farmer's Market.  Usually we aren't able to bring home much of the fresh produce but we love to stock up on the dried peppers and chile powders.  Chimayo is a small village located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the northeastern part of New Mexico, now famous for the special Chimayo pepper native to the area.   The landscape and environment of the area, along with the need for infrequent watering produces a chile pepper with a unique flavor and aroma  With only 500 acres growing this pepper, it's a rare commodity among chile lovers.  If you get the opportunity to visit New Mexico, pick up a variety of chile peppers and powders to play with.  Even if you aren't visiting anytime soon, you can order online from a number of sources, including The Chile Guy.  I encourage you to pick up some Chimayo Chile powder soon and give this salsa a try.  (Of course you can substitute any quality chile powder you like but Chimayo has a little piece of my heart.)  It's a wonderful, restaurant-style salsa, suitable year round, but extra tasty in the fall and winter when fresh tomatoes aren't available.
The flavors of New Mexico in a bowl.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Raspberry Sweet Rolls

The other night we had breakfast for dinner.  Mr. DD made Eggs Benedict with his Classic Hollandaise Sauce.  I wanted to make something on the sweet side to accompany it, but Little Devil doesn't like cinnamon (the horror).  She does like raspberry.  And Mr. DD loves anything raspberry so I knew before I ever bought the raspberries that these rolls would be a hit.  The bread itself is super light and it makes an outstanding dough, and base for rolls.  I can't wait to try it with other fillings.  I already know that raspberry will remain our favorite.  The tart raspberry filling is perfect with the sweet dough and glaze.  We've already eaten an entire pan.  They are that good.  So good that I'm off to get more raspberries right now!
Some of THE BEST rolls we've ever had!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ruth's Cris Salad

They say "Opposites Attract," and obviously it's true.  There are many ways that Mr. DD and I differ greatly.  I'm a right-brained art major and he's a left-brained business guy.  I'm hot natured, he's always under a blanket.  I love to read.  He loves to play golf.  One of the activities we can both agree on is our mutual love of cooking.  This year for Valentine's Day we decided to stay in a cook a great dinner together.   Some people might not think that's a very romantic way to spend Valentine's Day, but it's something we very much enjoyed.  We had steaks, duchess potatoes, Banana Souffles and this wonderful salad.  I think my favorite part of the meal was the dessert, but Mr. DD has raved about this salad for weeks.  I edited the ingredients just a little bit because there were a few things I consider yucky, and since it was Valentine's Day I figured I could make the salad the way I wanted it.  We even went the extra mile and worked hard to make sure everything looked perfect on the plate.  Mr. DD is big on presentation.  Usually I'm big on eating the food while it's still warm (See?  Different Strokes for Different Folks) but since it was a special meal, it was worth it to up the presentation.  Try this wonderful salad the next time you grill a steak or prepare a special meal.  It's well worth the effort.
An elegant salad with a lovely presentation...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spaghetti & Meatballs Soup

When Little Devil was little she LOVED spaghetti and meatballs.  It was her all time favorite food.  And because we were young and silly and probably wanted to wind up paying for therapy in later years, Mr. DD and I would torment her by singing, "On Top of Spaghetti..."  You know the song.  The spaghetti is all covered with cheese.  The meatball is lost when somebody sneezed.  She DID NOT think that song was funny.  In fact she would tear up and cry and say, "I don't want to lose my meatball, that poor meatball."  That's a serious love for food.  So fast forward, she isn't so little anymore, in fact she's 21.  But she still enjoys pasta and for old time's sake I thought I'd make her Spaghetti & Meatballs in a soup form.  You'll be glad to know her father and I refrained from the serenade, and she was able to consume her soup without any tears being shed or counseling required  If you're looking for a fun weeknight recipe, and something different from the usual soup or pasta dish, then give this a try.  Singing is optional. 
"On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table and onto the floor,
and then my poor meatball rolled right out the door.
It rolled in the garden and under a bush,
and then my poor meatball was nothing but mush."

No wonder the kid is traumatized.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

PF Chang's Copycat Lettuce Wraps

Who doesn't love the lettuce wraps at PF Chang's?  A really flavorful filling wrapped in crisp lettuce and dipped in the sauce of your choice?  Yep, I'm in.  We make these quite often as the closest PF Chang's restaurant is 35 miles away.  Not exactly next door.  Since we cook Asian food on a regular basis, I make these as an appetizer a lot.  I also make them as an entree and serve alongside chicken fried rice or my Asian Meatballs.  Super easy to make, one pan to clean up and kind of healthy.  Oh yeah, and tasty!  Everything you seriously want in a recipe.  Without the drive.

Easy, healthy and tasty too!
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