Pumpkin Pie Perfection

Pie Pumpkins

It seems everyone is trying to reinvent the pumpkin pie this year, in some attempt to make the Thanksgiving dessert-staple better. Pinterest is rife with cheesecakes, pecan crusts, creme bruleed tops and all sorts of trendy pumpkin madness. Sorry folks. But the recipe from Libby’s canned pumpkin purée is THE best. It is simple, time tested, and the perfect balance of sweet-creamy-spiced pumpkin goodness! Stop trying to reinvent the wheel, people!

Despite giving Libby’s the much-due credit for the perfect pumpkin pie recipe, I think it’s time we all shit-can the can. This year, I decided to do just that! And after my first test round, I wondered why I hadn’t done this a decade ago. If you want to make your pumpkin pie better, start with a real pumpkin.

Do not use that jack o’lantern from Halloween. It is way too big, and I’m sure it’s rotten by now. Look for a small Sugar Pumpkin (also called a Pie Pumpkin). These little guys are made specifically for baking, and have a creamier, less grainy flesh. A 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound pumpkin should yield enough flesh for one pie. My 4 pumpkins averaged 1 1/2 pounds, and I had just enough for 4 pies. But when in doubt, go a little bigger. It’s better to have a little extra than to not have enough.

Pumpkins scraped

There are numerous ways to process your pumpkin, and get it ready to become pie. The method I chose seemed like the easiest. Start by cutting your pumpkin in half (through the top and bottom). Then you scoop out the seeds and place it cut-side down on a parchment lined baking pan. Don’t stress about the stringy bits around the seeds – this will be much easier to remove after the pumpkin has been cooked. Put it in the oven and roast it for about an hour. Next, pull it out and let it sit, still cut-side down, for about an hour. The steam will help finish the cooking, then it will cool enough to handle. Lastly, scoop it, mash it and use it! A run through the food processor can take care of the mashing, and ensure a nice even consistency.

Pumpkins Roasting

The best part about recipe websites are the comments (of which my blog has few….get to cooking, and share your 2 cents!). It’s great to see people talk about the recipe, what worked for them, changes that they made, and some jewels of info that you don’t always get from a cookbook. Since I didn’t buy canned pumpkin, I didn’t have the recipe! But I had the internet, so problem solved – and I found a jewel too! One of the commentators of the Libby’s recipe pointed out that at some point the recipe changed. That the original recipe called for only 2/3 can of evaporated milk (instead of the full can). Good to know! So use your judgment about the filling consistency, and don’t feel obligated to use that whole can of milk.

Pumpkin Pie

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • Sugar pumpkin
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Slice pumpkin(s) in half, remove seeds. Place pumpkin cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 325F for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool for an hour. Scoop flesh into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Measure out 1 3/4 cups, and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, sugar, spices and salt. Whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in 1/3 can of milk. Continue adding  milk until desired consistency is reached (between 2/3 and whole can).

Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. reduce head to 350F and bake for 40 more minutes or until set.

Red Beans & Rice

Like any other classic Southern dish, Red Beans & Rice recipes (and non recipes) vary and are as unique as the person preparing them. A dish that is steeped in South Louisiana and family traditions, no one makes their red beans exactly the same. Here is my take. Use this recipe as a guide, but know that everything – from measurements to list of ingredients – are all open to interpretation. Experiment and make it your own!

Red Beans

Let’s start with some history about the dish du jour – don’t worry, the test will be open book. Whenever researching for a recipe (especially one heavily rooted in traditions and variations) I like to look not only at various recipes, but how the origins of the dish came about. Traditionally, red beans & rice was served on Monday. Sunday dinner (Yankees, read “lunch”) was usually a ham, and the leftovers were perfect for the red beans. Monday was also “wash day” where women would spend all day scrubbing clothes. By hand. I guess I should stop griping to The Man about my outdated washing machine….I could always be washing by hand! Red Beans & Rice was an “easy” dish that could sit on the stove all day and make for a yummy supper (Yankees, read “dinner”) at the end of a long soggy day.

History lesson over (you all get an A). Now to talk about ingredients. As mentioned above, leftover ham is ideal. But personally, I don’t bake a ham every Sunday….I might bake 2 a year. So let’s consider the other options. Store bought ham, bacon, sausage, ham hock, salt pork, pickled pork….do you see the trend here? Pig. Cured pig of some sort. You can find recipes using various combinations of the above pork products. Some recipes call for serving the meat on the side. Some call for meat in the beans and a pork chop on the side. I like andouille sausage and smoked ham hocks. That’s assuming it doesn’t happen to be one of two days of the year I’ve made a ham.

Red Beans meat

After browning your choice of pig products, we move on to the veggies – onion, celery and bell pepper. I dice mine small so that they melt into the final product – I’m not a fan of vegetable chunks in my red beans. Lightly caramelize the veg in the rendered pork fat and a little butter. Use a fly swatter to shoe away friends and family who may have gravitated towards the kitchen smells – you don’t want anyone drooling on the stove.

Red Beans all in the pot

I hope you read this article yesterday and started soaking your red beans….if not, I guess you’ll have to start now and eat tomorrow (or do the quick soak method. Or use canned beans). Personally, I like the small red beans. But kidney beans, or a combination of both, works great too.

Red Beans Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer

Deglaze your pan with a cup of stock. Scrape up any flavor stuck to the bottom, then add all your ingredients to the pot – meats, beans, liquid, herbs and spices. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let it go for about two hours. Or maybe three. Four? The beans are done when they’re done….so sit back and relax. But come back to stir and drool from time to time.

Red Beans half way through

I want my red beans to be melt in your mouth creamy. A long, slow, consistent cooking time should guarantee this. But if you want to speed it along, you can mash up some of the beans. Also keep an eye out for dry beans – don’t be afraid to add some more liquid as needed. If you don’t happen to like creamy red beans, and want a little more bite to them, you might want to consider reducing the amount of liquid. You can always add more later.

Red Beans

Now it’s time to serve! Because there’s so much flavor packed it the red beans, I like to keep the rice simple. A little butter, salt and a bay leaf. Scoop some rice in your bowl and top it with a generous portion of the beans. Sprinkle it with some green onion (or chives) and serve with a bottle of hot sauce.

Red Beans Over Rice with Corn Bread

Notice that I didn’t garnish my red beans with any highfalutin greenery. Not that I’m opposed! But it was the final minutes of a very nerve-racking Saints and Patriots game. I scrambled to fix my plate (you folks are lucky to have a final picture!) after Kenny Stills caught a touchdown pass to give the Saints a 1 point lead in the final 3 minutes! We won’t talk about what happened after that…..but at least I enjoyed my red beans!

Red Beans & Rice

  • 1 Lb. small red beans (dried)
  • 1 Lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 Lb. smoked ham hocks
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 – 2 green onions, minced
  • 1/4 C. parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. oregano (dried)
  • 2 – 3 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 3 – 4 bay leaves
  • 3 C, chicken stock
  • 3 C. water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, cover dried beans with water. Cover and soak over night. Drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) sauté sausage. Remove, leaving behind drippings. Add in the butter and sauté onion, celery and bell pepper until lightly caramelized. Add in garlic, parsley, green onions, dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of the chicken stock. With a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot. Pour in water, stock, ham hocks, sausage and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook (uncovered) for 2 to 4 hours, or until desired consistency is reached. If needed, smash some of the beans in the last half hour of cooking.

Serve over white rice with Corn Bread.

Ya’ll want my Corn Bread recipe?? It’s pretty darn good….

Sweet Skillet Corn Bread

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 C. yellow corn meal
  • 1 C. flour
  • 2 ears of corn, kernals scraped
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 – 2 C. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425F. In a seasoned cast iron skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Butter should be very hot, but not smoking. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and corn kernels. Whisk in egg and oil. Add 1 cup of buttermilk and stir. Slowly add more as needed until consistency is thick but smooth. Pour batter into hot skillet and smooth out the top. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven, and bake until golden brown and cooked through (about 25 minutes). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean

Pickled Jalapenos

I’m not the most successful gardener. Over the years I’ve tried to grow a myriad of fruits and vegetables including, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, strawberries, watermelon, sweet onions, bell peppers, hot peppers, and herbs. Some with moderate success, and some (squash and zucchini) with disastrous results. However, I have consistently shined in the herbs and hot peppers department – producing an abundance of basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and jalapeno peppers. In fact, my oregano is on it’s 5th year of continuous growth! And my peppers are in their second year :)

jalapeno plant

When I went to clear the weeds from my garden this Spring, my three naked and stickly jalapeno plants from last year appeared to have some life left to them. I clipped off the dead woody bits, and moved them to a pot with fresh soil (I nixed my large above ground garden this year in exchange for a smaller container garden on the porch). To my delight, the scrawny half dead plants came back to full life, and produced more peppers than they did the year before. In fact, it’s early August, and they are still producing jalapenos.

Having a successful crop isn’t exactly a problem, but I have run into the inevitable What am I supposed to do with all these jalapenos?? Poppers are always a good option, but the first dozen peppers or so were on the small side. So I let them sit in the fridge until I needed them…..which I didn’t….and didn’t….until Ok, I need to figure something out before they have to go in the trash!

Pickled jalapenos

This recipe for Pickled Jalapenos is mostly void of measurements. The amount of jalapenos varies, depending on the size of your peppers. And the water and vinegar is relative to the displacement of the other ingredients. But you only need to worry about 2 things. First, fill your jar almost to the top before adding liquid. Second, you want a 50/50 ratio of vinegar to water.

Pickled Jalapenos

  • Jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 Lime, sliced
  • 1 Clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • Mason jar

Add peppers, lime, garlic, agave and salt in a mason jar until almost full. Pour in vinegar until it comes halfway up the jar. Fill remaining jar with water. Put lid on tightly and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight before use.

Now back to the original quandary – what to do with all these peppers?? Pickled jalapenos always make me think of nachos. So a heaping pile of grilled chicken nachos is where my first batch went :)

So I Finally Wrote an “About Me”

I’m 6 months into my life as a blogger, and I decided it was past time for me to write my “About Me” page. So here it is!

What the heck is a highfalutin duck!? Apparently, it’s a quail.

Wife. Mother. Food Lover. Welcome to The Highfalutin Duck!

Late one Friday night (when anyone halfway respectable  should be in bed) The Man and I found ourselves at the Pancake Palace. A 24-hour diner that was a local rival to your standard Waffle House. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day, every day. But anyone with any sense ordered breakfast, no matter what time of day it was.

My go-to was always the bacon, egg and cheese croissant, hash browns with onions & cheese, and a bowl of grits. Carb, calorie and cholesterol overload – but after a few hours at happy hour, who cares about any of that…

Anyone who ventured past the breakfast and lunch menus would find themselves with the elusive dinner menu, and the most interestingly unexpected item choice – the quail dinner (option of 1 or 2 quail, by the way). This was NOT the place to be ordering fresh game or anything that didn’t involve cheap cuts or cured meat. Who in their right mind would order quail from a dump like this!?

Click HERE to continue reading….

‘Mater Pie

Nothing screams SOUTHERN! and SUMMER! louder than a fresh baked tomato pie. Whether you grow your own, have good friends that like to share their harvest, or enjoy trips to the Farmer’s Market – a great tomato pie recipe should be in your repertoire. Ironically, after my mom brought over these about-to-burst-from-ripe-juicy-goodness tomatoes, I realized I didn’t have a tomato pie recipe….because I had never actually made a tomato pie.


So I go where any searching chef (ok, so I’m not a chef, I’m a home cook…but I like the alliteration, so I’m rolling with it) goes for new recipes – the Interwebs. A quick Google* search for “tomato pie” yields a ton of recipes….where to begin? First on the list was a Paula Deen recipe – a ton of basil, but otherwise didn’t look too exciting. Next up, Simply Recipes – similar to the first, but with the addition of onions, and hot sauce. Getting better! Moving down the line, Taste of Home introduced bacon – now that’s what I’m talking about!

But then this search came to a screeching halt. I was looking for differences and uniqueness among the recipes, and I wasn’t expecting this gleaming commonality. I’d only looked at 3 recipes, but so far all three included my arch-nemesis – Mayonnaise! You’ve GOT to be kidding me….please don’t tell me the goopy grossness is a key ingredient to a good tomato pie. I’ve never detected it’s presence in any savory slice (apparently I’m on an alliteration kick….) of ‘mater pie I’d previously consumed…. So I went straight to a reliable source – Southern Living. And there it was….mayonnaise…. Alright, I concede…mayo will be an ingredient in this pie. But I will make damn sure that not one of my taste buds will ever know! Mayo aside, the SL recipe looked the best.

Tomato Pie

It started with a bacon and sour cream whole wheat crust. Yes, they actually crumbled 8 slices of bacon and put it in the crust. I reserved my bacon (and only 3 slices) for the filling. The choice is yours on that one. But the sour cream (in lieu of water) was appealing. Despite being a slightly temperamental dough to work with (just work slowly while rolling and transferring to your pie plate), the result was ideal – light, flaky and full of flavor.

The filling looked pretty good too – sliced tomatoes, a blend of fresh herbs, and a mayonnaise and cheese spread. With the addition of the bacon and some lightly caramelized onions, this was rounding out to be my ideal tomato pie. Also, SL had a unique addition – apple cider vinegar to the mayo/cheese mixture. Perfect! Exchange that for a little balsamic, and I knew that mayo taste would be obliterated.

After almost an hour in the oven, the kitchen aromas were intense. The Man came home and instantly started drooling over the cooling pie. Then I dropped the bomb – we have to wait at least two hours. Like any pie, cutting in too soon will result in a soupy mess. It was hard, but we held out! And it was absolutely worth the wait! Enjoy :)

Tomato Pie2

*Google is used as a verb here. I actually use Yahoo! for searching.

Sour Cream Crust

  • 1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 C. self-rising flour
  • 1 C. butter, cubed
  • 3/4 C. sour cream

In a food processor, pulse flours until combined. Add in butter, pulse until consistency of small peas. Add in sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Do not over work. Wrap in plastic wrap, form into a disk, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 13 inch round. Transfer to a lightly greased pie plate, and crimp the edges. Refrigerate until needed (at least 30 minutes).

‘Mater Pie

  • Sour cream crust
  • 2 1/4 lb. tomatoes (divided)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced into rings
  • 1/2 C. mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 C. parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 – 4 T. fresh chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, chives)
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 T. cornmeal

Cut 2 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

Brown bacon in a skillet. Remove and set aside. Pour off most of bacon fat, and saute onions until soft and lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes).

In a small bowl, combine mayo, egg, cheeses, herbs, salt and pepper.

To assemble : Remove formed pie dough from fridge. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal. Layer in 1/2 of tomatoes, slightly overlapping. Spoon in half of onions and half of the bacon. Spread 1/2 of cheese mixture evenly over tomatoes. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 1/4 pound of tomatoes (that have not been salted). Season with fresh cracked pepper.

Bake at 425F for 40-45 minutes. Cover edges with foil, if needed to protect crust. Allow pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

While The Man was on a week long trip to Dallas, I only had to run the dishwasher once. A typical week around here sees no less than 6 dish cycles. Needless to say, I cook alot and we eat alot! But with him gone (and numerous friends or family inviting us for dinner) I barely touched the stove. However, I did take advantage of his absence to re-create a salad that uses 2 ingredients that he hates – sweet potatoes and pecans.

Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Thrive is a cool carry-out cafe. They tout their use of locally sourced, organic ingredients and are the only “green certified” restaurant in Savannah. I’m not sure what that means….but trendy claims aside, their food is very good. One of their side dishes is a roasted sweet potato salad. A great mix of savory and sweet that can be served cold or room temp. Makes for a healthy lunch, or an ideal side dish at dinner. Here is my knock off of their salad (which I think is a knock off of a Whole Foods salad….)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

  • 1 Lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced
  • 1/4 C. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 C. spinach
  • 1/4 C. raisins
  • 1/4 C. pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, onion, Chinese 5 Spice and pepper. Mix until spices evenly coat. Pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Evenly spread vegetables, so they are in a single layer. Roast at 400F for 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned.

Transfer roasted sweet potatoes and onions to a bowl. Add spinach, raisins and pecans. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Whisk until incorporated. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until read to serve.

Can be served cold or room temperature.

Fiorentina Pizza

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you already know I have a penchant for not-so-common pizza toppings. And here is another – eggs! Ok, wipe that look off your face….I know it sounds completely inappropriate, but to date I have a 100% success rate in changing the Ewww’s! to Ooooh’s! when presenting this pizza to guests.

Fiorentina Pizza

The Fiorentina Pizza is not my unique idea. It is one of the many delicious pizzas created by UK-based pizza chain Pizza Express. While living in London in the 90’s, Pizza Express was a staple in our family’s diet. Weekly (sometimes daily….) visits were a must. My go-to was always the Margherita (mozzarella and tomato) until I was introduced to the Fiorentina by best friend Kelly. Despite being topped with ingredients I thought I didn’t like (spinach, olives, runny eggs), I ignored my gut instincts and had a bite. Oh. My. God. That sh*t was good! The salty olives, earthy spinach and just enough run in the egg yolk to create a bonus sauce – everything melded into awesomeness.

Fiorentina Pizza

  • Pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce (store bought)
  • 4 – 6 Oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • Fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 6 – 8 black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 – 3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat gas grill and pizza stone on high heat. Spread dough out on a floured pizza peel. Shimmy, to ensure it is not sticking. Spread the pizza sauce evenly around the crust. Scatter the spinach, olives and cheese evenly. Transfer to the pizza stone, and lower heat to medium. Crack each egg onto the pizza, trying not to let them overlap. Allow to cook for 10 -12 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and dough is cooked through. Also make sure that egg whites are cooked through. Transfer back to the peel. Allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting.

Pizza Dough (for one pizza)

  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C. warm water

Combine flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add water until you reach desired consistency. Turn to “stir” and knead for 7 – 10 minutes. Dump into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for until doubled in volume. Punch down dough, and divide into balls (one for each pizza). Cover until ready to use.

Avocado & Edamame Salad

I’ve been trying to broaden my vegetable side dish repertoire. It’s easy to get stuck in a habit of rotating variations of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus. So to freshen things up, I found an awesome (and versatile)  avocado dressing to spoon over a medley of crisp chopped veggies. The result is this Avocado & Edamame Salad – full of vitamins, nutrients, protein, and flavor.

Avocado Salad with Grilled Chicken Kabob

A note about the dressing – it makes alot. Much more than you will need for the salad. And even though the source recipe says it can keep fresh in the fridge, I found that it was best the first day. It was still good a few days later, but I wouldn’t keep it for the full 10 days that they suggest. But considering how good this dressing is, it isn’t hard to find uses for it. It makes a great dip (for fresh veggies or tortilla chips), spoon it over grilled meat (like the chicken above), or just get out your spoon :)

Avocado Dressing

Avocado Dressing

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • water (about 1/2 C.)

Combine avocado, garlic, vinegar, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Slowly add water until desired consistency is reached. Best if used immediately. Or cover and keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Recipe modified from Eat, Lift & Be Happy

Avocado & Edamame Salad

  • 1 C. edamame beans, steamed
  • 1/2 C. yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C. mango, diced
  • 1/4 C. red onion, diced
  • 1/2 Pt. cherry tomatoes
  • 2 T. cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 C. lettuce (bibb or romaine) cut into small bites
  • Avocado dressing

Combine all ingredients except dressing into a bowl. Add dressing 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and mix to coat. Continue adding dressing until all vegetables are evenly coated.

Cinco de Mayo Feast

Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite pseudo-holidays. Although it has historical significance in certain regions of Mexico, it has become a day to embrace Mexican culture here in America….but for me (and plenty of others, I’m sure), it’s just a great excuse to eat fresh Mexican food and imbibe in some refreshing Mexican spirits. Skip the crowded Mexican restaurant this year, and fix a feast at home. Here are some of my favorite recipes to help you along your way!

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chipotle powder (or red pepper powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika

Combine all ingredients. Use to season ground beef, chicken, or steak.

Cilantro & Garlic Chicken

Tender chicken that falls to shreds with the touch of a fork. This can be used as filling for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or quesadillas.

Shredded Chicken

For recipe, click HERE!

Mango Salsa

Super fresh and flavorful, use it as a chip dip or add a spoonful over your entree.

Mango Salsa

For recipe, click HERE!

Grilled Corn & Avocado Salsa

Super fresh and flavorful, use it as a chip dip or add a spoonful over your entree.

grilled corn & avocado salsa

For recipe, click HERE!

Jalapeno Poppers

A baked version of the appetizer favorite.


For recipe, click HERE!

Pork Taquitos

A great way to use up leftover pulled pork

Baked Pork Taquito

For  recipe, click HERE!

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

For  recipe, click HERE!



  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tap. pepper
  • Dash Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients, mash with a fork until desired consistency is reached.

For a zestier guacamole, add 2 tablespoons of salsa, 2 tablespoons of minced red onion, and a handful of chopped cilantro.


Last, but certainly not least, the quintessential Mexican cocktail.


For the recipe, click HERE!

Whole Wheat & Seed Bread

I was in dire need of some good whole wheat bread yesterday – and the grocery store bakery just wasn’t delivering on all my cravings. I wanted rich and nutty aromas, a bread chock full of nutrients, and deliciously guilt-free. So to the kitchen I went, to concoct the bread my mouth was watering for.

Whole Wheat & Seed BreadYes, this is healthy bread that’s full of bird seed  flax and sesame seeds. But it’s also good bread. It can side a bowl of soup, goes great with butter and honey, or can be the ideal ends (and middle…) to a fantastic Club Sandwich. Something a little like this :club Sandwich

Whole Wheat & Seed Bread

  • 1 1/2 C. warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 C. rolled oats
  • 1/4 C. flax seeds
  • 1/4 C. sunflower seeds (roasted)
  • 1/4 C. sliced almonds
  • 2 – 3 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, yeast and honey. Allow to proof for 5 minutes. Add in salt, oats, flax, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Mix on low with the dough hook for 1 minute. Add in 2 cups of flour and stir on low until combined (scrape down sides of the bowl as needed). If needed, add in more flour 1/4 cup at a time. Dough will be tacky, but should form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Pour in oil while mixer is running. With the mixer on medium-low, knead for 7 to 10 minutes.

Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough, lightly knead in the bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Place dough into an oiled loaf pan, and  allow to rise until dough crowns over pan by 1 inch (about 1 hour).

Bake bread at 375F for 30 – 35 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a rack before removing from pan.

Club Sandwich

Layer, from bottom to top :

  • Toasted bread
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • 2 slices deli meat (rotisserie-style chicken)
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Tomato, thick sliced
  • Toasted bread with mayonnaise
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 egg, over easy
  • Toasted bread with whole grain mustard