Monday, August 16, 2021

Mexicali Pizza

Today I would like to share with you a terrific twist on pizza. You can make your own crust or use the yummy pre-made ones in the grocery store. This recipe is a little Italian, a lot Mexican and so so good it may become a regular request from your family!


  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced *optional
  • 1/2 C. red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 C. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T. dry oregano
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 C. tomato sauce
  • 1 ready-made or home made pizza crust (large size)
  • 1 C. grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 C. grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped                              


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Brown your ground beef in a large skillet until done. Drain off fat in colander.

In same skillet saute onion, garlic and jalapeño until softened. Add ground beef back to skillet then add bell pepper, beans, oregano and cumin. 

Cook on low heat until all veggies are tender and spices are well mixed. 

Spread your sauce on your pizza crust. spread the beef mixture over sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro. Scatter both cheeses on top.  Bake for approx. 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Let rest before slicing.

Tips: This pizza is a fork and knife meal. 

I have had great success with the Trader Joes pizza crust in a package. It has 2 crusts and is shaped rectangular. I use one for the above ingredients.

I serve with a side of sour cream, bottled favorite salsa and hot sauce for the husband (Pica Pico!)

I am happy to have this forum to share my favorite recipes and my passion for cooking. I encourage anyone who is not having a family meal around the kitchen table to try it, you're going to love it - oh and the pizza too!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

 Bananas. We all have a love-hate relationship with bananas. We buy them every week in a green state, put them on the countertop knowing that in a few days they will be absolutely

perfect.  A few days later they have gone from "perfect" to soft and no longer greenish yellow.  They just sit there because no one in your family will eat them! Banana bread, although it is amazing, you can only make and eat so much of it. Here is another recipe to use when you have those sweet little bananas that are just going to waste.


  • 3/4 C. butter, softened
  • 1 C. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 C. mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 t. corn starch
  • 3 C. old fashion oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 C. mini chocolate chips     


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Using an electric stand mixer, mix butter, sugars, egg, vanilla and bananas. I prefer to cream my butter and sugars first, then add the egg and vanilla, mix a few seconds, and then add bananas.

Now add all your dry ingredients except oats and chocolate chips.  Mix well. Take bowl off of stand and fold in the oats and then the chocolate chips.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter and flatten slightly. Bake 12-14 minutes. (this will depend on the size of your cookies) The bottoms will be golden brown and the tops will look lighter, but it changes when they cool, so don't over bake.

Leave on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to cooling racks and proceed with more batter.

Makes 3 dozen


Monday, August 9, 2021


 Chicken, chicken, chicken.... we eat so much of it that it can get a bit boring!  I look high and low for recipes that will give the ordinary chicken breast a kick of flavor and texture. This one has both and the accompanying sauce takes it even further in the flavor category!


  • 1 C. pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 C. bread crumbs (I use 1/2 panic, 1/2 italian seasoned crumbs)
  • 3 T. cajun seasoning, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depends on size)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a large baking pan (cookie sheet) with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl combine pecans, bread crumbs and 1 T. cajun seasoning.
In another medium bowl whisk together eggs, oil and 2T. cajun seasoning.

Doing one breast at a time coat chicken in egg mixture then dredge in pecan mixture, pressing to ensure coating sticks well.  Place on baking sheet. Continue with all pieces making sure to leave a little space between each piece for even cooking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and internal temp. reaches 165.

1/2 C. Mayo
2 T. honey
2 T. dijon mustard
1 T. cajun seasoning
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (more if you like heat)
Whisk sauce ingredients together and refrigerate.  Set out for 5 minutes or so 
before serving. Drizzle on chicken.

Great served with mashed potatoes.

TIPS: Chicken breasts seem so large now that I place between several layers of wax paper and pound to a thinner size.  Cajun seasoning is also called blackening seasoning.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Salisbury Steak with Onions

 Fourth of July has passed.  Everyone is probably over the hotdog, hamburger scene for at least a week, and now what?  I decided to share a recipe today that is pretty easy and I find that the ingredients are ones we usually have in our pantries. I found this recipe in a magazine called Cuisine at Home, great recipes and tips.  However, this one seemed to need a little more flavor so I did add several ingredients.  

Serves 4


1 lb. ground beef

1/4 C. fresh minced parsley

2 T. scallions, minced

1 t. kosher salt

1/2 t. pepper

2 T. flour

1 T. olive oil

2 C. yellow or white onions, sliced

1 t. sugar

1 T. minced garlic

1 T. tomato paste

2 C. beef broth

1/4 C. red wine

1 T. Better than Bouillon Beef flavor

1 T. cornstarch (mixed in 3-4 T. of the hot gravy) before adding to skillet

1/2 t. salt and pepper

1/2 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. Herbs de Provence


Combine ground beef, parsley, scallion, salt and pepper. Once combined form into 4 patties.

Place 2 T. flour in a dish and dredge patties on both sides. Heat oil in large skillet and cook patties 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Set aside. 

Add sliced onions and sugar to the skillet. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste until well mixed. Sprinkle with 1 T. of flour and cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine and beef bouillon, then add salt, pepper, thyme and Herb de Provence. Return meat to the skillet and simmer 30 minutes uncovered on low heat. 

Take cornstarch in a small glass bowl or measuring cup and stir in a few tablespoons of hot gravy. Once mixed add to the skillet for a little extra thickening.

Serve with mashed potatoes as this sauce is so great on the potatoes as well as the steaks.

Tips: If you don't want to freeze or throw out  1/2 can of tomato paste, remember to pick up the paste in a tube.  Just squeeze out the amount you need and keep in the refrigerator.

Since this is meant to be a quick and easy recipe, making homemade mash potatoes sometimes isn't possible. I use the instant potatoes and find them really good especially when you're covering them in a sauce.

As with all the recipes I share, please be creative and experiment by adding ingredients you feel will enhance the flavor.

Also share a recipe every chance you get!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Italian Sausage Ragu'

I am Italian, well 1/2 anyway, and I love the wonderful tastes and smells of everything Italian.I look for and try as many new Italian recipes as I can, and the best part of all is adding different ingredients that I like and truly making the recipe my own. This recipe is fairly simple, features fresh ingredients and ends up being a "one skillet" dinner although you will use one other pot.


1 lb. penne or bowtie pasta

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage or links with casing removed

1 1/2 C. red or yellow bell pepper, large dice

1 C. yellow onion, diced

4 t. tomato paste

4 t. minced garlic

1 C. white wine

2 - 14oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice

2 t. sugar

1 1/2 t. red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)

1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan cheese to finish/serve


Brown sausage in a large high sided skillet breaking into small pieces as it browns.

Drain sausage in a colander but leave about 1 T. of fat in pan. Saute' your bell pepper and onion for about 8 minutes stirring often. Stir in tomato paste and garlic. Continue to cook and stir for 5 more minutes. Deglaze pan by adding the white wine and stir to loosen any bits off pan. Increase your heat to medium-high and cook until liquid has thickened. Add canned tomatoes with juice, cooked sausage, sugar, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Taste occasionally and add salt, pepper or pepper flakes as needed.

In a large pot with a splash of olive oil and some salt, boil water for pasta. Cook 10-15 minutes then drain, but do not rinse. Add to the skillet. Add 1/2 of the parsley and stir to combine. Heat on low for another 10-15 minutes. Serve with more fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 8

Tips:  Rather than wasting a small can of tomato paste when you need a few teaspoons, purchase your tomato paste in a tube. It is so easy to squirt the amount you need into the spoon and stir into your recipe.

If you like more heat use 1/2 hot Italian sausage and 1/2 mild.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe.The leftovers warm up in the microwave perfectly and it is just as delicious as the first time you served it. Again, I would love for you to share a recipe every chance you get, and this one is great to share! Who doesn't love Italian food!!

Wonderful Coconut Shrimp

For several years every time my husband and I would travel to Kauai, Hawaii, we would search for restaurants that served good coconut shrimp. There is just something about being in Hawaii and having coconut shrimp as well as all the other local fresh fish. Such a treat. 

After a trip we took in 2010, I challenged myself to find a recipe that was easy and delicious so that we could enjoy coconut shrimp at home. 

I found several and took a few things from each one and came up with this super easy coconut shrimp recipe with a homemade dipping sauce.


  • 20-24 fresh ex-large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 C. shredded coconut (sweetened, in baking section of store)
  • 1 1/2 C. panko bread crumbs, smashed to a fine consistency
  • oil for frying, coconut oil, canola oil or your preferred oil


Once you have cleaned your shrimp and rinsed in cold water, lay on a paper towel and pat dry.

Using 3 separate bowls beat egg whites in one, mix coconut and bread crumbs in another, and flour and cornstarch in the third.

Line a medium cookie sheet with parchment paper and have it near you when you begin the breading step.

Starting with flour, coat shrimp. Dunk in the egg whites and turn over until all sides are moistened. Now press into the coconut panko mixture and turn and press until coated. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the coating.

Using a high sided frying pan or a small dutch oven heat oil to 350 degrees. I test my oil by dropping some extra breading into the oil, if it sizzles its ready.

Drop 3-5 shrimp into hot oil. They will need about 3 minutes per side, depending on size of shrimp. You will see the shrimp turn slightly peach in color and coating should be a deep golden brown. Do not crowd your pan. Do in batches. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate.


Have all other components of your meal cooked and ready to serve before you fry the shrimp.

Dipping sauce:

Using a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, place 1 cup orange marmalade, 2 T. dijon mustard,

4-6 splashes of Tabasco sauce, mix well and heat.  Mix again to incorporate all the flavors into the jam.

Taste at this point to decide if more heat is needed and add accordingly. You can make sauce ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve shrimp.

This recipe is great for a main course or as a very filling appetizer.

I serve coconut shrimp with cilantro lime rice and a salad or coleslaw.

Another great, pre-made sauce is a sweet chili pepper sauce. I find these everywhere and love the one at Trader Joes.

If you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, please make it for someone special in your life and then share the recipe!! Do that every chance you get - Carm

Monday, June 28, 2021

Easy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Since I am a real lover of mexican cuisine, I find myself being attracted to any and all recipes with mexican flavor! Sometimes the shorter and easier a recipe is, the more excited we will be to try it. I have made this recipe for years and I still change it up and try new things with it. Its always delicious!


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

12 corn or 8 flour tortillas, charred and cut in half

1 - 28oz. can green chili enchilada sauce

1 - 16oz. package pepper jack cheese - shredded

1- 8oz. container sour cream

1/3 C. chopped fresh cilantro

3 green onions sliced very thin (include some green parts)

First cook your chicken. You can do this a number of ways.  You can put it in a pot, cover with water and boil for approx. 20 minutes or until done. You can cook in the microwave or you can pan fry them in a little oil until done. Cool completely and shred. Set aside. 

Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray a 13X9 baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour a little of the green sauce in dish to coat the bottom. Set aside. Take you tortillas and char them either directly on the flame of a gas stove top or by using a flat skillet to heat until lightly charred on both sides.

Now you will start layering so have your cilantro and green onions chopped and in small bowls.

Place 1/3 of the tortillas on the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 of the shredded chicken, 1/3 of the cheese, some cilantro and green onions and then drizzle a thin layer of sauce over that.  Now using 1/2 of the sour cream do small blobs all over.

Cover this with the next 1/3 of tortillas. Press down slightly. Spread the rest of the chicken, 1/3 of the cheese, cilantro and onions and some sauce, using the rest of the sour cream do blobs all over the top.

Now use the remaining tortillas, press down slightly, drizzle remaining sauce, and top with remaining cheese.

Bake covered with lightly sprayed foil for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until golden and cheese is very melted on top.

Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with a side of refried beans, good salsa and hot sauce. So easy and so good!

This re-heats in the microwave or oven well.  Have fun trying it and adding things to your liking.  And share a recipe every chance you get!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Spicy Burgers

Years ago I saw this recipe for chipotle burgers by Bobby Flay.  I had to experiment with it as it was a bit too spicy for me but here is what I came up with. Enjoy!


1 lb. ground beef
1 package dry chili seasoning
1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce from small can (I use La Costena) seeds removed and chopped
1/4 C. beer (your choice)

Mix all ingredients together and form patties based on your bun size. 
(I get 4 out of a pound and I use Natures Own- Brioche style)
Refrigerate for at least one hour before grilling.

Serve with your favorite toppings; tomatoes, avocados, cheese etc.
For another bit of spicy use the following - 


3/4 C. mayo
2 chipotle chilis, seeds removed and minced. Mix well and refrigerate until time to serve.

TIP: If serving fries as a side hold out 2 T. of the dry chili mix and sprinkle on the fries either during cooking or at the end.
Toasting the buns on the grill makes them even more delicious!

Share a recipe every chance you get...

Mexicali Pizza

Today I would like to share with you a terrific twist on pizza. You can make your own crust or use the yummy pre-made ones in the grocery st...