Friday, April 30, 2010


My daughter, Charen, makes the best guacamole.  All she does is peel an avocado and remove the seed.  Then she mashes the avocado in a bowl and adds salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.  I love to put it on my tacos.  Hey, did you know that if you save the avocado seed and put it in the middle of the guacamole, it will keep the guacamole from turning brown?  Of course, we eat it so fast it doesn't have time to turn brown!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grandma Cleo's Pecan Cookies

We made a book for my mother-in-law about her life (she's 97 and will probably out-live us).  It included memories from her children and grandchildren, pictures, some of her funny jokes and her delicious cookie recipe.  I thought I would share this recipe with you.  It really is a delicious cookie--you can't eat just one! 

Grandma Cleo's Pecan Cookies

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

Melt butter and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Add flour and pecans.  Mix well.  Drop cookie dough by teaspoons ontp a greased cookie pan.  Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes.

Carrot Souffle

Every week Publix has a food demonstration and tasting, and they give out the recipes.  A few weeks ago they had this carrot souffle.  It was delicious, so I made it for my family.  My family loved it and I think your family will too.

Carrot Souffle

1 pound fresh carrots
1/3 cup butter (I used only 1/4 cup)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut carrots into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Combine with butter and cover.  Microwave on HIGH for 8 - 10 minutes or until tender.

Process carrots in food processor with remaining ingredients.  (I used my blender.)  Put into a baking dish sprayed with Pam.  Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chicken Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

My friend, Stephanie, found a great recipe in Cooking Light magazine.  She told me that it is so good that she makes it at least once a week.  As a matter of fact, she loves it so much she made it for me and my family to eat.  Man, it was good!  This will definitely be on my list of favorites, too.

Chicken Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced peeled mango
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 

Combine first 4 ingredients; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Rub over chicken.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.

While chicken cooks, combine mango, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Heat tortillas according to package directions; top with chicken and mango avocado salsa. oon paprika

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lemon Chicken Orzo Pasta

I'm always up for trying something new.  I found a lemon chicken orzo recipe and decided to try it.  My family enjoyed it.  I think the next time I make it, I will add more chicken and more peas.  If you're up for trying something new, you're going to like this one.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Pasta

1 (16 oz.) box Orzo pasta
4  chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (8 oz.) package frozen peas, thawed slightly
Lemon Pepper seasoning
Salt to taste

Cook orzo pasta al dente, rinse in cold water and set aside.  Cook cubed chicken breast in skillet with a little olive oil over medium heat with lemon pepper seasoning until partially cooked.  Add onion and celery to chicken and continue to cook until chicken is done and juices run clear.  In large bowl, add chicken mixture to orzo pasta.  Add peas and mix thoroughly.  Add more lemon pepper seasoning and salt to taste.  Can be eaten warm or chilled. 

**It makes a lot, but the recipe said you could freeze half of it.  I'll never know because there is no chance of leftovers in my house!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easy Cucumber Salad

When I was growing up, my mom used to always make a quick, easy cucumber salad that we loved.  She just sliced the cucumbers into a bowl.  Then she sliced an onion (sometimes I use red onion to give is more color) and added fresh chopped tomatoes.  Finally she poured Italian salad dressing on top, tossed and served.  I make this quite often, especially when I don't have enough time to make my Cucumber Cooler.  My family loves cucumbers no matter how they are served.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tater Tot Hamburger Casserole

The other morning I went to get something from the outside freezer.  I reached to open the door to the freezer and realized it was already opened.  My heart stopped!  Why was the door open?  Who left the door open? Was all my food ruined?  I quickly opened the freezer door wide so I could see the inside.  Oh, I was so sad.  My chicken, hamburger and tater tots were all thawed.  Well, I knew what we'd be having for supper that night--Tater Tot Hamburger Casserole!  Of course the next evening we had my famous grilled chicken. Just goes to show that something good does come out of something bad. 

Tater Tot Hamburger Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 bag frozen tater tots
1 - 2 cups grated cheese
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Brown meat and onion.  Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Drain juices from meat and add soups.  Mix together.  Spray a 9 x 13 dish with Pam and pour mixture into dish.  Put tater tots on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until tater tots are brown.  Sprinkle cheese on top and bake 10 - 15 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

**In case you're interested, here's the scoop on the opened door to the freezer:
My granddaughter, Addy, went to the freezer to get a popcicle.  As she grabbed the popcicle, she saw a huge bug in the garage.  Screaming at the top of her lungs, she ran inside as quickly as she could.  (She's like her mom, Charen--HATES BUGS!)  And you know the rest of the story!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies

Now, talk about something good!  These brownies are to die for.  Chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow--You may think you've been to heaven and back when you try this delicious dessert. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies

1 package (19.8 oz) Brownie Mix (I used Duncan Hines chewy Fudge Brownie Mix)
1 package (10 1/2 oz.) miniature marshmallows (Kraft is the best)
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
I cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff)
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cup rice krispies cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of 9 x 13 pan.  Prepare and bake brownies following package directions.  Remove from oven and sprinkle marshmallows on the hot brownies.  Return to oven and bake for 3 minutes longer.

Put chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until chips are melted.  Add rice cereal and mix well.  Spread mixture over marshmallow layer.  Refrigerate until chilled. 

**Since my family loves anything peanut butter and chocolate, I made this dessert for Easter and put some pastel sprinkles on top to make it look Spring-like.  It was definitely "heavenly"!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Strawberry Blueberry Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

Now that is a mouthful--Strawberry Blueberry Poppy Seed Pasta Salad.  And you're going to love every mouthful when you taste this delicious fruit and pasta salad.

Strawberry Blueberry Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

1 box (1 pound) bowtie pasta
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
1 1/2 Tablespoon onion juice or grated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Cook bowtie pasta according to directions on box.  Rinse and set aside to let cool. 

Put sugar, salt, mustard and vinegar in a small pot.  Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  (It does not need to come to a boil.)  Put this mixture in a blender.  Slowly add oil and blend.  Add onion and poppy seeds and blend.  (This is the same recipe I use in my Poppyseed Salad, except for the onion.)

Put pasta in a bowl and pour 1/2 the dressing mixture in it and mix well.  Let it marinate overnight.  Add the strawberries and blueberries.  Fold into pasta.  Add the rest of the dressing.  Toss and serve.

**Doesn't this salad look beautiful in my strawberry bowl?  This would be a great salad to serve on a red, white and blue day--Memorial Day or 4th of July.

Oh, and speaking of special days. . . . . . . . . . . .

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight

I was making a meal to take to my friend and I needed a quick dessert. I found a recipe on a piece of torn notebook paper that was probably written over 30 years ago. It had chocolate bars written along the side, but I really I didn't know (or should I say remember) what it was. Since it looked easy to make and I had all the ingredients, I decided to try it. Personally, I liked the bars just they way they were because I love anything chocolate. My daughter, Charen, thought they needed something else. So we tried putting crunchy peanut butter between two pieces, making it like a sandwich. Of course, Charen loves peanut butter. You know the saying that "two heads are better than one"? Guess that's true when it came to creating one of our new favorite treats, Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight. We were delighted that this chocolate bar turned out so yummy! By the way, my friend and her family loved it, too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Delight

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Crunchy Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate squares together. Add all other ingredients, except peanut butter, and mix well. Spread evenly on a greased jelly roll pan. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool and cut into squares. Spread peanut butter on one square and put a square on top like a sandwich. Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

I'm sad to say that this will be my last post--------------APRIL FOOL'S! Don't you just hate those silly April Fool's jokes? Well, this recipe is no joke. It is simple, tasty and you can substitute your favorite fish--catfish, flounder or orange roughy.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

1/2 cup pecan halves, finely chopped (I used my food processor to chop them)
4 - 5 fresh or frozen tilapia fillets ( I used frozen)
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder to taste
3 Tablespoons butter

Sprinkle fish fillets with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dip fish in the finely chopped pecans. (Some did not want to stick, so I just placed the pecans on the fish.)

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until well browned and fish flakes with a fork. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley, if desired.

**I served it with lemon wedges in case someone wanted to put a squeeze of lemon on the fish. It was fantastic. My family really loved it.