Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Guacamole

I know, I're not supposed to say your dish is the best. It's the kiss of death or something like that. But this REALLY is THE best guacamole! I have played around with several variations over the years, and this is the one that gets the most raves, the most "We're having a pot luck this weekend, can you bring YOUR guacamole?" I love it! It's a tortilla chip's best friend! And here at our house, we serve it up on all kinds of dishes. Don't be afraid to try it on your burger, on some grilled chicken, tacos, and of course, Carne Asada. So good! Enjoy!

6 ripe Hass avocados
3 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 serrano pepper, sliced thinly into rounds
1/2 of a white or red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, (about a handful finely chopped)
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

Halve the avocados and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash them; I like to leave mine a little chunky. Add the remaining ingredients and gently stir everything together. Taste to see if you would like more salt. If the serrano is too warm of a pepper for you, a jalapeno is a nice alternative. Set one or two of the avocado pits in the center of the dip. Place some plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole. (This keeps it from browning, It's the air that causes the discoloration.) Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Blogs I have shared my dish with: DJ'S Sugar Shack,  A Little NoshJam HandsCrumbs And Chaos

Pin It!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicken Bacon Penne

Sorry for my absence these past few days. My husband took some time off of work, so my blogging has been pushed aside. But I am  here and DO have some fantastic dishes to share! The kids finish school on Thursday and I plan to have a better posting schedule for the Summer.

Speaking of fantastic dishes...Chicken Bacon Penne is a complete winner! It's a simple but savory skillet casserole. Every time I make it, there isn't a speck of it left. I can easily say this is both husband and kid approved. That doesn't happen with every dish.

Pin It!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake On A Stick

I love strawberry any form! So when I saw this version of it on Pinterest I knew I had to share! Seriously, what a fun idea! Super easy to assemble and completely FAUXBULOUS! All you need is a loaf of pound cake, a pint or two of fresh strawberries, and some wooden skewers. The perfect dessert for BBQ season and all Summer long. Enjoy!

1 to 2 pints of fresh strawberries
1 loaf of pound cake
wooden skewers
Place your pound cake in the freezer for a few hours; it's easier to cut when frozen. Remove from freezer and cut it into chunks. Rinse strawberries and slice in half. Assemble on skewers. Also, I placed small bowls of chocolate sauce and whipped cream on the table for dipping. So good!

Recipe source: Lemonade Makin Moma

Pin It!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spanish Rice

There are certain recipes I find to be invaluable in the kitchen; recipes that all chefs at home need to have a GOOD version of. Spanish Rice is one of them. For the longest time I felt like it was one of those dishes you only enjoyed while dining at Mexican restaurants or taco shops. In fact,  I used to base what taco shop I went to by how good their rice was. A girl's got to have her standards, right?

Anyway...One day I was in the kitchen with my niece, getting ready to make the latest version of Spanish Rice I had stumbled upon, when she asked me if I would like her to show me how her 'other' grandma makes it. (Her grandmother on her father's side, who is from Mexico.) Well, of course I wanted to know!  So she walked me through the ingredients (to the best of her recollection), and the method. And what we ended up with was a dish I had been trying to figure out for years! It was right next to me all along! Simple to make and so delicious!  The perfect side dish for Taco Tuesday! Sometimes I make a pot of it just to  have a bowl  by itself. It's THAT good! Enjoy!

2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can chicken broth (or 2 cups homemade stock if you can)
1 - 2 cups water
2 Tbs tomato paste (Or 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped)
1 -2 tsp salt

In a large, lidded skillet (I use a non-stick skillet that is almost like a wok), brown the uncooked rice with the onion in 2 Tbs olive oil. Just until the onion softens and the rice is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Do not brown the onion) Add garlic and cook another minute or two, just until fragrant. Stir in chicken broth/stock and 1 cup of water. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Stir in tomato or tomato paste, mixing it in well. (Especially if using paste.) Season with 1 tsp of salt. Reduce heat to very low, cover with lid, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Checking at the about 12 minutes to see if you need a little more water (I usually add more). When rice is tender, remove from heat. Let sit 10 minutes with lid on. Taste to see if you prefer a little more salt. Fluff with fork before serving.

LESLIE'S NOTES: I usually make this rice when I make chicken tacos. Which is also an excellent way to get your chicken stock. I boil a whole chicken in a large stock pot of water for about an hour. Then strain the water and drain it into a large bowl. That way I have homemade stock for dishes like Spanish Rice. It gives it so much flavor. Also, keep in mind that if you use fresh tomatoes, your rice will be lighter in color than if you use tomato paste. But both are just as flavorful!
Pin It!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Classic Sub Sandwich

As I am sitting here preparing this post, I realize that the bottom slice of my hoagie roll is completely invisible. You are just going to have to trust me that it's there! I admit, I am not the best photographer. But I think this sandwich, even with the bottom half hidden under all those layers of sandwich magic, looks pretty tasty. And you know what? It is!

This is hardly a recipe. It's more of a "this is how I do it" kind of a post. We all know how to assemble a sandwich, right? But do we all know the little tricks and tidbits the deli's use to make them taste so good? There was a time that I did not. And that's what prompted me to share my favorite sub sandwich. We all are at different levels in the kitchen. And what seems so basic to one, may be a complete revelation to another. For me, the little details make all the difference in the world! How does the saying go..."The devil is in the details." I like to say the LOVE is in the details. And this sandwich is all about the love. Enjoy!

1 sm white onion, thinly sliced
1 sm bowl  cold water
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, finely shredded (I use a serrated knife for this)
1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini or banana peppers *optional
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
dash or two of salt and pepper
1/4 Lb roasted turkey breast, deli sliced
1/4 Lb ham off the bone, deli sliced (regular deli ham works fine)
1/4 Lb dry salami, deli sliced
1/4 Lb provolone cheese, deli sliced
Italian or hoagie style rolls (6 inch size)
*Makes 2 to 4 sandwiches

Soak your sliced onions in the bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. This gets rid of the "tear effect" as well as the bite and leaves behind the savory flavor of the onion. (Great tip to know when making sandwiches.) While onions are soaking, whisk together your olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a medium size bowl. Then toss your shredded lettuce in the mixture. (Another fantastic tip for sub sandwiches.) Also, I like to mix up a little extra of the oil/vinegar mix for dipping and drizzling later. Remove onions from water. You can pat them dry if you like; I leave mine slightly wet. (I'm weird) Slice your roll(s) lengthwise. Then layer the bottom half of your roll with a few slices of cheese, 2 to 4 slices of salami, 2 to 4 slices of ham, and 2 to 4 slices of turkey. (more or less depends on preference) Then top with desired amount of shredded lettuce mix, sliced tomato, and peppers. Give it a few dashes of pepper. You're good to go!

LESLIE'S NOTES: As you can see, I have left mayonnaise and mustard off my sandwich. I don't think this particular dish needs it. But you can always add or omit whatever you like. For example: I always throw a few slices of roast beef on when making this for my husband. He's definitely a 4 slices of each meat kind of guy; 2 slices of each are good for me.

Blogs I have shared my dish with: Crumbs And ChaosMoms Crazy CookingJam Hands
Pin It!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Miss Susan's Pineapple Sheet Cake

If you've been following my Facebook page and subsequent blog, you know that Friday's are all about being FAUX-BULOUS. (Quick dishes that involve pre-made ingredients, or that are just completely cheating all the way around.) By the way...the term "Fauxbulous" is in no way a put-down.  We all need a break in the kitchen from time to time!

There's nothing really "faux" about today's dish. But it is FAB-ULOUS, so I am squeezing it in there. If anything, it qualifies for how simple it was to make. Why can't ALL cakes be THIS easy! And besides, my blog, my rules! (winks)

Once again, simple ingredients and minimal cooking time. I added the frosting and served it while still warm. Amazing! It is on the rich side, so I cut the pieces small. I chilled the leftovers over night and served it cold the next day with some freshly sliced strawberries....Super dee-lish! Enjoy!

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs (room temp)
20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 chopped walnuts *optional (I did not use)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients together until smooth. (It's actually slightly lumpy from the pineapple.) Pour into greased 9X13 baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
4 Tbs butter, softened at room temp
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts *optional (I DID use)

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla. Slowly add sugar and blend after each addition. Fold in nuts if using.

Recipe source: Big Red Kitchen
Pin It!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

 I am not a fan of cooking shows. But I am a fan of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I love her style of cooking! A week or so ago, I happened to be flipping through the channels and landed on her show. I could see by the heading that she was about to make Chicken Parmesan. I was like...okay? (Yes, I do speak Valley Girl.) Anyway, I was thinking, "Don't we all already have our own version of this dish?" I wasn't thinking I was going to be THIS wowed! I was wrong...

Right away I could see that this was a very special Chicken Parmesan. Not your old "stand by" covered in marinara. (Not that that version isn't incredible!) She did something so refreshing though, and topped hers with some arugula that had been tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. Joyness and Beauty! And I have a lemon tree that bears fruit year round! Even more joy!

I made this for dinner last night. HUGE HIT! Like I said, beautiful and refreshing! Definitely a "company worthy" dish. But, do something sweet for your family, make this for them on just any old day. Light some candles. Add a few slices of lemon to your ice water. Maybe even a glass of white wine. I will be making this fantastic dish over and over again. Thanks, Ina! Enjoy!
Pin It!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frito Pie

No need to go to the County Fair for THIS Frito Pie! Though I do admit, it's kinda neat eating chili and chips right out of the bag. Have you ever had it served that way before? I highly recommend it!  This is one of those dishes that has been around for as long as I can remember. And no doubt we all have our own version of it.

I am still in the process of putting together my easy weeknight menu. (As mentioned in a previous post.) Not that I mind heavy cooking. But Summer is coming. And seriously...who wants to spend an hour making dinner when they could be sitting by the pool or laying on the sand? (not me) That's what Fall and Winter is for!

Because of it's simplicity, and absolute deliciousness, this dish will be on heavy rotation in my house this Summer. It's ingredients are also quite versatile; make sure to read my notes at the end of this post for an alternate serving idea that my family really loves during the colder months. Enjoy!

Pin It!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A sweet slice of my life....

I knew from the very start of this week that I would be devoting my time and efforts to my children rather than my blogging. No doubt, I made the right choice. They are growing up so fast! At the end of this Summer, we will be left with just ONE in school. I feel entirely TOO young for this to be possible! (super sniffles)

With all that in mind, and with Mother's Day tomorrow, I thought I would share 'a sweet slice of my life' with you today. Five of my BIGGEST inspirations; my children. (LOVE) 

For me, Motherhood has been challenging. There have been days I find myself wondering, "What did I do to deserve you?" (I am SO blessed! You are THE most intelligent, and incredible, child on earth!!)  But there have also been THOSE days, where I have fallen to my knees, (privately), and exclaimed, "WHAT...for the love of ALL that is HOLY...did I EVER DO to deserve YOU?" (Thankfully, there have been more of the former than the latter.)

Through it all, I have always found my children to be truly amazing! A love affair of 'another' kind. Each one of them, a blessing, a lesson, and a gift. 

We are a gracious family; and so my children have always expressed their gratitude to me. I hope in return that each one of them know: The honor, the privilege, the GRATITUDE, is all mine. 

Happy Mother's Day!

xo, Leslie, Lovee, and Mom.
Pin It!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

I just made these for lunch today. Took me less than half an hour from start to finish. I found the recipe the other day, while on the hunt for easy weeknight dinner ideas. And yes, this is a perfect dish for weeknights. Simple ingredients and super quick to put together!

My husband is home today, and since I am nice like that, I figured I would skip dinner and make him a really yummy lunch. (He's still smiling) The way to a man's heart is through his stomach...right? (wink)

This is definitely a grown up version of any Sloppy Joe that I have ever had. And it absolutely lives up to it's name. It really does taste like a Philly Cheese Steak! Enjoy!

1 Lb ground sirloin
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pint fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped *optional
1/4 cup steak sauce (I used A-1)
1 cup beef broth
salt and pepper, to taste
4 dinner rolls (med/large size)
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
1 cup milk
1 Cup provolone cheese, Swiss, or Italian cheese blend, (grated)

In a large skillet over med/high heat, add the sirloin and brown for about 5 minutes; just until it starts to separate and render some of it's fat. Add the the onion, bell pepper, and mushroom. Cook another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are nice and tender. You can drain off some of the liquid if you like. Stir in the steak sauce and beef broth, season with pepper. *I would hold off on the salt until  you are just ready to serve. (The steak sauce and broth are both plenty salty) I did not need any additional salt. I did season with pepper, though. Let simmer for a few minutes.

While meat is cooking, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Cut dinner rolls in half, toast, and fill with meat mixture. Top with a few spoonfuls of the cheese sauce.
Smile! You just made something really delicious!!!

Adapted from a recipe by: Rachael Ray
Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes Will Be Participating In These Fantastic LINK PARTIES
Pin It!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carne Asada

One of my favorite things about living in Southern California is the taco shops. If you've been here or live here, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Who doesn't just love a carne asada burrito or some rolled tacos? I think it's safe to say we have the best Mexican food North of the border! Today I am sharing a little slice of Southern California culture with you; my version of carne asada.  Served on fresh corn tortillas with some freshly chopped cilantro, white onion, and a squeeze of lime...out of this world delicious! Make sure to read my note at the bottom of this post, where I will tell you how to go one step further, and make CARNE ASADA FRIES. (Yes! They are THAT exciting!!!) Probably one of my all time favorite dishes!  Enjoy!

freshly chopped cilantro, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
the juice of 4 limes
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp sugar
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 Lbs flank steak

Garnish Ingredients:
Plenty of freshly chopped cilantro
1 white onion, finely chopped
several limes, cut into wedges
Guacamole (optional)

In a small mixing bowl, combine cilantro, red wine vinegar, lime juice, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Stirring well; set aside. Place flank steak in a large baking dish, (9X13 works for me). Pour cilantro mixture on top of steak and turn to coat. Top with sliced onions. Cover dish with foil and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 8 hours. (Longer is better) I usually prepare mine first thing in the morning so it will be perfect by that evening's BBQ. Remove steak from marinade; discarding marinade. (It's okay if some cilantro and onions remain on the steak.) Place steak directly on the rack of your gas or charcoal grill over medium/high heat. Close lid and let cook 15-20 minutes for medium, turning only once halfway during cooking time. When steak is done, set it on cutting board and cover with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cut the steak against the grain into thin strips. Then chop into smaller pieces. Serve with warm corn tortillas. (We warm ours directly on the grill.) Garnish with fresh cilantro, diced white onion, and a squeeze of lime. I also like to add a dollop of Guacamole. So good!

LESLIE'S NOTES: Carne Asada Fries are quite possibly one of the best things on earth! You can make your own fries or do what I do and buy the frozen kind. (The thinner the fry the better.) Prepare the carne asada as instructed above. Place cooked french fries on your plate(while they are piping hot) and top with meat. Then garnish them with a dollop of sour cream, guacamole, lots of cheddar cheese, and some queso fresco or cotija cheese (if you can get it in your area.) Heaven on a plate! You can thank me later... :)

Blogs I have shared my dish with: Dwell On JoyCrumbs And Chaos Bru Crew LifeJAQS StudioD J's Sugar ShackA Little Nosh33 Shades Of GreenI Gotta Try ThatThe Sasse LifeAdorned From Above
Pin It!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chile & Lime Corn Cob Bites

Turn any BBQ into a fiesta with these spicy little corn cob bites. Sweet corn with some heat from the chile; the perfect side kick to a plate of carne asada or lime grilled chicken. I like to cut each ear into thirds for a fun presentation. (Plus the kids really like it this way.) But you can always leave the ear whole. The outcome is the same. Lightly grilled corn, slathered in a buttery chile sauce. We grill these lil' beauties up all Summer long. Simple to prepare and mouthwatering good! Enjoy!

6-8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
freshly chopped cilantro, about 1/2 a cup
2 tsp ground ancho chile pepper
dash or two of cayenne pepper
zest of two limes (one if it's large)
1/2 stick of butter, melted (I put mine in a small dish and microwave for about 40 seconds.)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp lime juice
dash or two of salt

Cut the ears of corn into thirds and place in a large pot of water to soak; about 10-15  minutes. This way they won't dry out on the grill. While corn is soaking: In a small bowl, mix together the cilantro, lime zest, ancho chile powder, and cayenne pepper; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and a dash of salt. Drain pot of water and remove corn. Place corn directly on the grate of your grill over medium heat (not over direct flame.) Let cook  for about 15-20 minutes or until corn is lightly browned and tender. Turning every few minutes and brushing with butter mixture. Place grilled corn in a large bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro chile mixture, tossing to coat. Serve immediately, or cover bowl with foil to keep very warm. *It's not as good after it gets cold.
Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...