Saturday, May 31, 2014

It’s carrot season! Ginger Glazed Roasted Carrots & Green Beans

It’s carrot season!

Although carrots grow all year round they are their sweetest during the springtime.  I love a good carrot. I tend to look for larger carrots that may have a woody core, but the flavor is so much sweeter.  

I usually snack on raw carrots (daily) which is my first choice and favorite way to eat them.  Besides using them in stews, pot roasts, soups, and such, I also love to roast carrots.

Roasted carrots are easy and they are the perfect complement to a springtime meal.  They go with most meat dishes and bring a little freshness to your plate.

Today I wanted to share with you my recipe for Ginger Glazed Roasted Carrots and Green Beans.  I served this alongside a wonderful pork tenderloin to a light spring dinner we had recently.  Both the carrots and green beans came out perfectly as the roasting brought out the sweetness and the glaze just boosted the flavor.  I use a wonderful ginger from Gourmet Garden that is paste that comes in a tube.  Super handy!  I got mine from my local grocery store and I’m sure you will find it as well.  But if not, substitute ground ginger and use just a little less.

Try some wonderful spring vegetables this weekend.  Carrots are a great one to start with and they pair so well with the green beans.  This recipe is easy to put together and you will love the results.


Ginger Glazed Roasted Carrots & Green Beans

serves 4

1/2 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced lengthwise

1/4 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ c honey
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ginger (Gourmet Garden)
¼ salt
¼ pepper

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Place carrots and green beans on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once half way through the cooking time.

Meanwhile combine honey, butter, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until it starts to bubble and then reduce and simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Remove vegetables from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle glaze over the carrots and green beans and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It’s French Bread Pizza time!

It’s French Bread Pizza time!

We did a lot of running around last weekend doing so many fun things.  I just love when we have a 3 day weekend and are able to make the weekend fun and relaxing.  It just makes the weekend more special when we don’t do the usual…you know chores, errands, laundry and such!
So in between running around I found myself hungry…go figure.  With not that much time on my hands to cook I had to make and eat something fast so I could get on with the partying!

Looking around the kitchen I spotted a loaf of fresh French Bread and that sparked an idea.  I’ll make French Bread Pizza.  I don’t usually eat pizza this way but I remember that I used to love it when I was younger…huhhmmm…and French Bread Pizza was in style; the big thing at that time!

I pretty much always have the makings of pizza on hand.  So out came some pizza sauce, some pepperoni that I keep in the freezer, (Turkey pepperoni is really, really good.) and some shredded mozzarella cheese.  Honestly, any cheese is the bomb on a pizza.  Hello, melted cheese? Yes please!

This is so easy to make.  Just cut the French bread in half and you have your crust or base to put on the toppings.  Heat up your oven and pop it in to bake for about 10 mins until everything is hot and melty and the bread starts browning.  That’s it!  Lunch is served!

Kitchen Tip:  Enjoy some extra zing by sprinkling on some Pizza Seasonings on top of the sauce.  You can pick up some here.

Enjoy a quick meal of old school French Bread Pizza when you can.

French Bread Pizza

Serves 2

½ loaf of French bread – sliced in half lengthwise
Pizza sauce
Pizza Seasoning – a sprinkle
Shredded mozzarella
Pepperoni – turkey or the real stuff
Optional: any topping that you like

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place bread sliced side up and spread on pizza sauce.  Sprinkle pizza seasoning over the sauce.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Top with pepperoni or your favorite toppings.  

Place on a cookie sheet and place in the oven.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the bread has slightly browned on the edges.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Luncheon Chicken Quesadillas

This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a ladies luncheon.

What great fun to get a few girlfriends together to celebrate our friendship!  We've been friends a long time and sometimes it's hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time.  We certainly try, but with the busy schedule of life getting in the way we end of pairing off and seeing each other in smaller groups.  So it was time to have an outdoor luncheon for all the girls and relax and enjoy just being girls!  

We had an array of food items that we all made together. We kept it simple and light.  Sangria was on the list, as well as a beautiful fruit salad along with a crostini with a wonderful white bean dip.  Most of the dishes were finger food friendly.  It's easier to have small bites to choose from which allow you to interact and move around enjoying the spring weather, rather than having a sit down meal.  More like tapa style.

I wanted to share with you one of the dishes that we made. A quick but hearty Chicken Quesadilla was perfect for us to share.  We made several of them to serve 6 hungry girls. We filled them with chicken, (I usually have roasted chicken shredded on hand!) cheeses, chilis, and tomatoes.  This dish was tasty and quick. Served along a side of sour cream for dipping this was a yummy treat!

So, if you need a quick lunch, or want to serve appetizers to your friends or family, this is a versatile dish that is easy to make.  You can vary the ingredients to suit your mood as well.  Be creative and let your taste buds lead the way!

Chicken Quesadillas

Makes 2 8" quesadillas

4 8” flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Colby jack
1/3 cup finely chopped green chilis
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
sour cream, guacamole (optional)

Brush one side of each tortilla with butter. Place two tortillas, on a griddle or do one at a time in a large skillet. Sprinkle with cheese, chilis, tomato and chicken. Top with remaining tortillas. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Cut into wedges. Serve with sour cream or guacamole if desired.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Banana Pudding Parfait

I think this dish is a Southern staple...

I also think this dish is the perfect dessert for spring and summer.

Who doesn't love a creamy pudding?  And when you layer it with ripe bananas and some vanilla wafers that soften to a cake-like consistency over time...mmmnnn!  Heaven!

There are so many variations of Banana pudding out there but I wanted to share with you my mom's version.
To make this easy for entertaining I took the recipe and created parfaits with it.  Speaking of entertaining, Memorial Day Weekend is coming up.  We always celebrate with a big barbecue and this would be the PERFECT dessert!

I hope you try my mom's version of this soul soothing dessert.  It's one that everyone will enjoy!

Banana Pudding Parfaits

Servings: 6

For the Pudding: 
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
3-1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Assembling:
3-4 large bananas, very ripe but not mushy, sliced
1 box Vanilla Wafers

For Topping (Optional)
Whipped Cream or Non-Dairy Whipped Topping

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and yolks. Whisk in the milk and bring to simmer, stirring frequently, over medium heat 5-8 minutes. When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter and vanilla. 

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper directly over the pudding to prevent a film from forming. Chill in the refrigerator until cool about 2 hours.

To assemble, place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each parfait glass. Spoon a large dollop of the pudding on top. Add a layer of vanilla wafers standing up against the sides of the glasses . Layer on some sliced bananas on top of the pudding. Repeat layers with pudding, vanilla wafers around the sides, and bananas layered to the top of the dish. Top with whipped cream or whipped topping, or some baked meringue for an authentic banana pudding. Top with a vanilla cookie or crumbs if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Apple Raisin Muffins

One of my friends had a baby in mid-January.  Her first baby, and a it's a beautiful little girl!  So this past Mother's Day was a special one for her as this baby has been a long time in coming.  

Being about 4 months old now she doesn't get much time to cook elaborate meals often grabbing and eating when she can.  So I thought I would come over and surprise her with a wonderful breakfast.  Eggs, and bacon, some fresh fruit, and some wonderful homemade muffins.

Today I wanted to share with you the muffin recipe.  This muffin has two of my favorite fruits inside.  Apples which I just love, love, love.  I eat them almost daily and always have them around to snack on or put in salads, cakes, get the picture.  The other fruit is raisins.  I grew loving raisins as snacks.  I loved them in my cinnamon rolls, and would just eat them out of that little box mom would pack for me in my lunch. Remember those?  So I threw in some raisins in the muffins and they go great with the cinnamon and apples.

These are wonderful moist muffins that will lift your morning.

The breakfast was a complete success and so appreciated and enjoyable, but the muffins were truly a hit!


Raisin Apple Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add the egg, milk and oil and mix all ingredients just until combined.  Fold in the apple and raisins.

Coat muffin cups with cooking spray and fill about 3/4 of the way with batter using a ice cream scoop.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Serve warm.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Pancake Brunch!

What's your favorite pancake?  Here are 8 deliscious pancake varities for you to choose from!  Celebrate Sunday, Mother's Day, or any day with family friendly comfort food. - Slice of Southern

Start off Mother's Day right with a fabulous Pancake Brunch

Brunch is a great way to celebrate Mother's Day.  Pancakes are just easy enough for the children or the Dad's in the family to whip up and create a perfect dish to please mom.

Whether you have breakfast/brunch in bed, or have a whole family over for a wonderful spread these 8 pancake recipes will have your entire family asking for more.

I've brought to you 8 of my favorite pancake recipes to choose from.

Time to celebrate the Mother's in your life, they are caring, loving, and always there when you need them.  So why not spoil her with a decadent dish!  Pancakes are everyone's favorite brunch time item.  

Happy Mother's Day!

What's your favorite pancake?  Here are 8 deliscious pancake varities for you to choose from!  Celebrate Sunday, Mother's Day, or any day with family friendly comfort food. - Slice of Southern

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's Cinco de Mayo Time!

It's Cinco de Mayo Time!

This holiday is really big in Los Angeles.  A wonderful celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, marking the victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.  Just around the corner it land this year on Monday, May 5th.  The poster above is from 1901 in honor of the victory.  

So what better way to celebrate than with food?  I can't think of anything.  Of course in Los Angeles, we can go down to Olvera Street, which is located in the oldest part of Downtown, Los Angeles.  This area was established by Spanish settlers back in 1781 and today the area is a modern Mexican-style marketplace with vendors and restaurants to enjoy the culture that abounds.  

And the food is to die for...!

So today, I've gathered some of my favorite Mexican dishes that would be perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!  Since today is Derby Day, we'll be celebrating fiesta style on Sunday.  Great for a lazy afternoon full of food, fun and margaritas!

Twisted Tacos - 

Baked Tacos

Chicken Verde Tacos

Tex-Mex Soft Tacos

Fresh Quesadillas - 

Chicken Quesadilla Grande

Cinco Party Dishes - 

Black Bean Tostadas

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Black Bean Burritos

Beth's Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

Latin Empanadas

Cilantro Lime Flank Steak with Avocado Poblano Salsa

Grab Some Tortilla Chips - 

Chunky Guacamole

Black Bean Salsa

Bonita Dessert - 

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

I hope your celebration is Muy Bueno!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Derby Day Celebration Menu Ideas

See the source image

It’s "run for the roses" time at the Kentucky Derby.  Each year the first Saturday in May marks the Kentucky Derby.  My family has always been great horse racing fans, and I’ve grown up loving the sport myself.  The excitement from the race is so palpable it makes my heart flutter thinking about it.
We are so lucky to live near several race tracks so that we can go as often as we like. Why, not long ago we spent a wonderful sunny day at the races and had a grand ole’ time! We even saw some women in big hats…which were a little out of place since this wasn't at Churchill Downs.  But it was fun to see as they got into the spirit of things.

Each year we watch the big race, called the fasted 2 minutes in sports.  So true, but also just so exciting.  My mom was a big horse race fan, following the horses and their trainers.  Me? I just like to watch and see if I can pick a winner. 
But we also like to have a little get together and have some good food.  So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for Derby Day that are around the internet.  Each is perfect for the celebration and pretty easy to make. 
Here’s what we have:
A classic sandwich created in Louisville Kentucky at the Brown Hotel, in the roaring 20’s as a late night ‘after party’ snack.
Come try this winner of a sandwich for Derby Day!
The Classic Hot Brown
-           Cooking Light's - The Classic Hot Brown
A spin on a traditional southern drink the Mint Julep, try a variation for the great race!
Mint Julep Iced Tea
-           Coastal Living's – Mint Julep Iced Tea
The best way to end Derby Day?  With some sweets.  Serve a rich and creamy pie that’s packed with pecans, chocolate and let’s not forget the bourbon!  Easy to put together using a pre-packaged pie crust.  You’ll love this recipe!
Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie
-           Southern Living's – Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie
Enjoy the fastest 2 minutes on sports with a great meal.  For a perfect side dish try this.
Spring-on-a-Plate Salads
-           Southern Living's – Spring-on-a-Plate Salads
For extra main courses try:
Country Ham Mini Biscuits
Ham and Biscuit sandwiches with mustard blends - just search for my buttermilk biscuits and slice some country ham or deli ham.  They make wonderful sandwiches!
Enjoy your Derby Day!
Note: All pictures curtesy of


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