Friday, July 26, 2013

Ham and Cream Cheese Rollups

 TGIF!  In honor of Friday, I give you these easy ham and chive onion cream cheese rollups.  I whipped them up some time ago when I was all caught up in the lo-carb Atkins craze.  These are super easy and a very tasty appetizer to take to your weekend get-together with friends.  So, if you are short on time and need a quick and delicious snack to bring with you.......try these!  They were a hit at our last get-together with leftovers!

Ingredients - only TWO!
1 (8 oz) container Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
1 large package of lunchmeat ham of your choice

On a cutting board, lay out your first piece of ham and wipe away any moisture with a paper towel.  This will help the cream cheese spread more easily instead of just sliding around on top of the ham.  

Spread about 1 tbsp of cream cheese evenly over the entire piece of ham.  Roll up the ham longways and cut in half.  

If you really like green onions, you can chop up some green onions and sprinkle them over the cream cheese before you roll up the ham.  It gives it a nice crunch!  
Hope you enjoy!  Cheers!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Not Yo' Mama's Pork Green Chili

Pork Green Chili

One of my favorite things about living in Colorado is that I have access to fresh, fire roasted green chilis every Fall.  I usually buy about two bushels, have them roasted right there at the roadside stand and then freeze them for use all year long.  

Growing up in Louisiana I was mostly exposed to Tex-Mex food and it was only when I moved to the Denver area (almost 14 years ago!) that I learned of the incomparable deliciousness of authentic mexican food.  Green chili is one of my favorite things and as soon as I moved here I knew that I must make this stuff for myself because I could not get enough!  

This green chili is not yo’ mama’s green chili...........but it IS delicious!  It is a culmination of my tasting green chili made by various friends and mexican restaurants and making the basic recipe my own.  Through trial and error, I finally came up with a recipe that I absolutely love!  I like my green chili with a little thickness and, of course, I add a good helping of roasted green chilies to give it some heat and that scrumptious roasted green chili flavor.  

I always get hot green chilies from the roadside stand and sometimes I even get some dynamite (extra hot chilies) to mix in with the others just in case the chilies are not quite as hot as I like them. 


2.5 lbs pork stew meat cubed into small pieces 
(pork chops, pork roast or pork shoulder butt blade steaks work well also)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour
1 can stewed diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
10 roasted green chilies, diced

Flour or corn tortillas for dippin’ and soppin’ up that delicious stuff!
Shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese for sprinkling on top


Heat the oil in a large stew pot over medium heat and then add in the pork and chopped onions.  Salt and pepper the pork after adding it to the pot.....careful not to add too much salt!  We will add more salt if needed at the end when the green chili is done.  

Saute the pork and onions together until the pork is no longer pink and the onions are soft.  Add in the minced garlic towards the end of the cooking time and saute with the meat and onions about 2 minutes.

This is the part where we brown the flour.  That’s what is going to give us a little thickness to our green chili.  There is nothing quite as sad as watery green chili....sniff!  Push the meat and onions to one side of the pot, leaving some liquid on the other side of the pot.  You may want to add just a tsp of oil at this point in order to help brown the flour.  

Turn up the heat to medium high and add the flour to the non-pork side of the pot.  Stir the flour around in the juices and oil for about 2-3 minutes, just to give it some flavor and cook it a bit.  The flour doesn’t have to be browned.  

Now stir in the chicken broth, making sure to add the broth to the flour first and whisk it a bit with a whisk or fork to break up any lumps.  Add in the canned tomatoes (undrained) and add the green chilies and cumin.  Stir everything thoroughly to combine the ingredients.  

Bring everything to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour.  Sometimes I simmer the chili longer if it turns out to be thinner than I had wanted.  To thicken up the green chili at the end, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for about 20 mins.  

The longer you simmer it, the better it tastes!  Cheers!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Grilled Flounder in Lemon Soy Vinaigrette served with Zucchini Ribbons

Flounder with Zucchini Ribbons
Once I had to start buying bigger pants (recently), I decided it’s time to eat lighter and healthier.  I don’t do well with strict diets that specify a million foods that are off limits.  This marinated fish recipe proves that you don’t have to skimp on delicious taste even though you are eating healthier.

I found this recipe on the back of a package of frozen Flounder filets and decided to try it.  The lemon and soy sauce marinade was delicious and tangy, with the unbeatable flavor of the fresh garlic.  I really enjoyed how the vinaigrette delicately flavored the fish without being overpowering.  

Bonus recipe** Also included is my famous but oh-so-easy sauteed zucchini recipe.  It uses only 2 ingredients and cooks up in a flash!  It’s a perfect accompaniment to any weeknight meal.  Even my husband, who is not fond of zucchini really likes this side dish....can’t beat that!

4 Flounder filets (or fish of your choice)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil


Prepare a piece of foil large enough to hold the 4 filets and spray with non-stick butter flavored (or regular) cooking spray.  Turn up the edges of the foil so that the liquid vinaigrette will not leak out.  I like to go around and pinch all four corners to make sort of a foil “bowl”.

In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and salt.  Whisk in the oil gradually until the oil is emulsified into the liquid mixture.  

Pour the vinaigrette evenly over the files.  Preheat the grill on medium-high heat and place foil packet on the grill directly over the heat.  Cook about 4-6 minutes on medium high heat or until the fish is flaky and no longer transparent.  My filets were very thin so if your filets are thicker you may need more cooking time.

When the filets are done, place them on a plate, spoon the sauce over the filets and serve with a side of the zucchini (recipe below).  Use any extra sauce as a topping for the zucchini or over some wild rice on the side..  Delish!  

Zucchini Ribbons with Italian Herb Infused Olive Oil

The Italian herb infused olive oil that I used contains rosemary, garlic and basil.  Anything similar would work fine and it adds extraordinary flavor to regular old zucchini.  This zucchini is shaved into ribbons or zucchini “pasta” with the use of a vegetable peeler.  Perfect for a low carb side-dish solution.  I haven’t tried spaghetti sauce over the zucchini yet, but I have heard that this very thin zucchini is quite tasty as a substitute for pasta.

4-5 Zucchini
1 ½ tbsp Italian herb infused olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Wash the zucchini thoroughly and dry with a paper towel.  Shave each zucchini with a vegetable peeler just as you would peel a carrot.  It gets kind of tricky once you get down to the very core of the zucchini so just do your best, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  

Sometimes I have to slice the very middle part thinly using a knife when it becomes impossible to use the peeler any further.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the zucchini until it is soft - about 7 to 8 minutes.  When ready to serve, sprinkle the zucchini with grated parmesan cheese to taste.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cajun Stuffed Potatoes

Cajun Stuffed Potatoes

These Cajun potatoes are my version of twice baked potatoes that are spiced up with Cajun seasoning and topped with cheesy goodness. I created this recipe when I was 19 and worked at a little Cajun restaurant in Shreveport, Louisiana called Gumbos. I loved their stuffed potatoes so much that I tried to duplicate the recipe on my own and these delicious potatoes were the result! The restaurant no longer exists but my Cajun stuffed potatoes recipe always reminds me of fun times and great food.

When I made this for my friends for a recent camping trip, they raved about them for days! The stuffing inside these potatoes is smooth and creamy with a little bit of Cajun spice love thrown in for good measure. I hope you enjoy them! 

This recipe is easy although it does contain several steps so it may take a bit of time, but the resulting yumminess is sooo worth it!

I love to get comments and feedback on my recipes, so please leave your thoughts or let us know if you try it and love it. Cheers!

8-9 medium Russet potatoes
3 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's)
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 cup half and half or cream
3/4 cup milk
3 green onions sliced (both white and green parts)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mexican blend cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup or more of shredded cheese for topping the potatoes
Spreadable butter for topping the potatoes


Wash the potatoes thoroughly and dry with a paper towel. Bake the potatoes on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the potatoes goes easily through the middle.

The potatoes can be cooked in the microwave, but I have found that cooking them in the oven provides sturdier and drier skins on the potatoes. The drier outside skin will make it easier to slice the potatoes in half and the shells will be less likely to tear, rip or fall apart when scooping out the insides.

When the potatoes are cooked and soft inside, let them cool before handling them. Slice the potatoes lengthwise in half and scoop the insides out into a large bowl. 

Food Tutor Tip* - I like to leave about 1/4 inch of the potato still attached to the skin when I scoop out the insides. There's nothing worse than having to work with a limp potato skin when spooning the stuffing into the shells. Been there, done that! Lol

Reserve the skins and place on a baking sheet or in a 9x13 baking dish. To the potatoes in the bowl, add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. If the potatoes have cooled too much you may have to nuke them a minute until the butter melts.

Add in the garlic powder, oregano, sage, and Cajun seasoning. Stir a bit to combine. Add the half and half to the potato mixture and mix on medium speed for a minute or so with an electric mixture to distribute all the deliciousness evenly throughout the potatoes.

Add the milk into the potato mixture and mix again on medium speed until the potatoes are smooth and creamy with no potato lumps hanging around in there.

You may need to add more milk if they look too dry, but don't thin them out too much. I like my stuffing to be the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes.

We're almost done! Lastly, fold in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and the sliced green onions. Stir to mix the cheese and onions evenly into the potatoes. 

Using a large spoon, scoop potato mixture into each potato skin. Heap the stuffing in there........don't be shy! When each skin is filled with stuffing mixture, spread a dab of butter evenly on top of each potato and then sprinkle lightly with some additional Cajun seasoning. Sprinkle as much shredded cheese as you like over the top of each potato.

Now we are ready to pop them into the oven, uncovered, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. You just want to heat them through and melt the cheese on top.

Last step, serve them to your family and friends and get ready for the all the compliments on your fabulous stuffed potatoes!

This recipe is enough for six people (one whole potato per person is a good guideline) and we had a few leftover. I used a few more potatoes than usual because a couple of the potatoes I had were too small for stuffing so I baked them up just to use the insides for the stuffing mixture.
You can adjust the recipe to your liking if you are serving fewer people. Also, keep in mind that you add more milk if you find that the consistency of your stuffing is too thick or if you want to thin the potato stuffing a bit.