August 30, 2011

Dinner Club - Theme Mexican

 Prepare yourselves for a ridiculous amount of food!

 Lisa W. was the host and main dish provider for this months dinner club.  She made some tasty fajita fixin's and even homemade tortilla chips and guacamole and a yummy layered dip. It was delish and the company was awesome.  I love my neighbors!

Here are the recipes for the three items above.

Fresh Guacamole and Chips

-Corn Tortillas
-Corn Oil
Cut each tortilla into 6 pieces. (I cut the whole stack at one time)
Fry them a couple minutes on each side in about 3/4" to 1" of corn oil in skillet (or could be deep fried in corn oil)

-3-5 ripe Avocados
-1 jalapeno pepper
-2 cloves of garlic
-diced tomatoes (optional)
-squeeze of lime juice
-salt (to taste)
Mash Avocados (I used my electric wand blender)
Very Finely chop the jalapeno and garlic (I used the chopper attachment that goes on my electric wand blender)
Add the pepper and garlic and tomatoes to the avocados
Add the lime juice and salt per your taste

Grilled Chicken - seasoned with taco seasoning
Grilled Shrimp - seasoned with taco seasoning
Sauteed Onions
Sauteed Peppers
Flour Tortillas
Fixings: lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, jalapenos, cheese, etc.

7-Layer Dip
Layer into serving dish in the following order and serve with tortilla chips
refried beans
sprinkle on taco seasoning
sour cream
shredded cheese
diced tomatoes
sliced black olives
green onions

Shannon made this wonderful black bean side dish.  She's an amazing cook!

black bean pico de gallo
1 can black beans
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. minced jalapeno pepper
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs. chili powder
Mix all ingredients.

Melissa Y brought her yummy homemade taco meat with some chips and cheese for make your own nachos!  Thanks Melissa, yummy as always and I will be stealing this recipe for taco meat!

Taco Meat

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion - minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder

Brown the ground beef (or ground chicken).  Drain.  Add the onions, garlic powder, pepper, tomato paste, water and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Anjanette brought this wonderful jalapeno corn dish.  Creamy and flavorful, I love it.

Mexican Jalapeño Corn

1 – 32oz bag of frozen whole kernel corn
1 – 8oz package cream cheese
¼ cup butter
7-10 jalapeño peppers, chopped (adjust to taste)
1 tsp garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Stir constantly once cream cheese begins to melt and corn is heated through. Serve warm.

Lisa F brought lime and cilantro rice and Taquitos and chips! So good! Thanks Lisa.

I brought these Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars which I've already posted.  They were simple to make and delicious!

I will update the recipes on this site as I receive them.

August 24, 2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

So, for dinner club our theme was Mexican.  Of course I volunteered for the dessert, as usual. There is absolutely nothing in this dessert I don't find delicious.  I mean, how can you go wrong with a cheesecake bar covered with cinnamon sugar. Very easy to make. I highly recommend them.

Start with a can of crescent roll dough. Pinch the seams together and use a rolling pin to get it to a 9x13 inch size.  You can also just put it in the dish and pull and pinch until it fits, that's what I did.

Now mix together the cream cheese mixture.

Slather on the cream cheese nice and evenly.

Cover the cream cheese filling with the second can of dough and pinch together the seams to make fit the dish.

Melt the butter and dump it onto the top crust and then spread it around so the surface is coated. This does seem like a lot of butter, I might try a little less next time.

Coat the butter with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Turns nice and golden brown, slightly crispy on top.  To.Die.For.

Let cool before slicing, I made mine a day in advance and refrigerated until I left for dinner club. 

Totally yum.  You gotta try these!

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 (8 ounce) cans crescent roll dough

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional, I didn't add any)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by mixing the cream cheese with the vanilla and sugar until creamy.  Open one can of crescent roll dough and pinch the seams together.  You can use a rolling pin to get it into a 9x13 inch size or you can just place the sheet of dough in the dish and use your fingers to pull and crimp until it fits nicely.

Smear the cream cheese mixture mixture over the crescent roll dough and smooth out.

Using the same technique as before, fit the second can of unrolled crescent roll dough over the cream cheese and seal the seams and cover the cream cheese.

Melt the butter and pour over the top layer of crescent roll dough and then spread with a brush or the back of a spoon until the entire surface is covered.

Sprinkle on the cinnamon/sugar mixture making sure to coat the entire surface.

Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. You're looking for a golden brown slightly crisp top.  Cool before cutting. Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Recipe found here

August 22, 2011

Salisbury Steak

Not long ago the temperatures around here dropped below 90 degrees; so it was time for me to break out the comfort food recipes and turn on the heat.  OK, not really turn on the heat but after all our 100 degree temps it certainly did feel like fall had arrived. 

I can't believe it's taken me so long to try Salisbury Steak.  I mean it's not like I've never had it; of course I have, many times; but I've never actually made it myself.  I will from now on, it was easy and delicious.  I actually couldn't wait to bring some leftovers with me to work the next day.  Totally delish, you gotta try this.

Mix the hamburger, bread crumbs, egg, french onion soup, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Shape the burger mixture into 6 oval shaped patties.  I have no idea why they need to be oval shaped.  You could be a rebel and make them square.  That's what I'll do next time.

Brown them on both sides and then drain off the excess fat.

In another bowl mix together the remaining soup, ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, flour and mustard powder and then pour over the browned burgers.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

This is so delicious, put this recipe down as one of your must try fall recipes. 

Salisbury Steak
Recipe found here: Salisbury Steak


  • 1 can condensed French onion soup
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder


  1. Mix the ground beef, 1/3 cup of the french onion soup, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl until well incorporated.  Shape into six oval patties and then brown on both sides in a large skillet. Pour off any remaining fat in the skillet.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the french onion soup, ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, flour and mustard powder and whisk until combined.  Pour this mixture over the patties, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

August 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I figured I'd better hurry up and get this posted since I actually made these for the Fourth of July.  Yeah, I'm really on top of things around here.

I knew I wanted a peanut butter cookie of some kind; I just wasn't sure what kind exactly.  So this recipe is sort of the result of a great recipe and not enough time to run to the grocery store for all the proper ingredients. I plan to get back and try the original recipe because this got so many compliments I can only imagine that the original would be above and beyond delicious.

These cookies came together quickly and easily and were very peanut buttery and chewy.  Exactly what I hoped for!

The only thing I did different than the original recipe was add semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead of Snickers bars. 

Original recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod found here.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and mix until well incorporated and smooth. Add the egg, then the vanilla and the milk incorporating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture slowly and mix until the flour has disappeared.  Add the chocolate chips and mix in using a spatula.

Add rounded tablespoon scoops to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10-11 minutes.

Let cool slightly on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.

Makes about 3 dozen.

August 18, 2011

Fruit and Yogurt Pops

I just saw this idea in a magazine and it looked super fun and easy to do with my little girl.  She loved it and it's healthy to boot!

Use fresh or frozen fruit, makes no difference. 

Put the fruit in a small saucepan and add honey. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the fruit has broken down and there is a nice syrup.

You can blend some yogurt and banana together - I did this but would opt to not do this next time.  The banana is just too overpowering for my taste - and my daughter doesn't really care for banana that much.

Strain the fruit/honey mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and pulp.  Put this into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so.

Now for the fun part.  Use some plastic Popsicle shapes, or ice cube trays to pour in the fruit and yogurt mixture.  You can either do layers or swirl them together.  When I did this it sort of swirled together without any help from me.

I poured fruit first, then yogurt

then topped it with the remaining fruit.

If you're using the plastic Popsicle kind of try just put the tops on.  If you're using an ice cube tray, cover it with plastic wrap and insert wooden Popsicle sticks and put them in the freezer.

Pour some warm water over the cube or tube that you are going to eat to help loosen it up.  Now enjoy.

1 C fruit - I used raspberry but you could use any fruit.
1/4 C. honey
1/2 C. vanilla yogurt
1/2 banana - optional.

Bring the fruit and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes. Strain fruit and honey with a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and pulp.  Cover and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
If you are going to use the banana, blend it with the yogurt just until blended and smooth. 
When the fruit mixture is cool, pour some in each Popsicle holder or ice cube tray and then top with the yogurt, stir to swirl if desired.  Freeze overnight.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine 2008 - Cool Pops

August 15, 2011

Watermelon Granita

Things are beginning to cool off a bit here so I wanted to make sure that this great summer refresher got out there in time for you to try it. It's quick and easy to make - well the preparation part is. You need to scrape it often but it's worth it. Great watermelon flavor!

Cube up bite sized chunks of seedless watermelon and put into a food processor or a blender.

Puree until all the chunks are gone. Add the lime juice and sugar and pour into a 9x13 inch pan.

Freeze for 2-3 hours and then take a fork and begin scraping the top surface.  Continue scraping every couple of hours until the entire pan is scraped.  Transfer to a airtight container and store in the freezer.

Delicious, cold, refreshing.

Recipe found here.

8 cups of cubed seedless watermelon.
2 limes - juiced
1/3 cup of sugar

Puree the watermelon until there are no chunks left.  Add the lemon and the sugar and mix thoroughly.  Pour into a 9x13 dish and cover and freeze.
Let freeze for about two to three hours and then begin scraping the top surface.  Return to the freezer and remove every couple of hours for more scraping.  Once fully scraped, put into an airtight container and keep frozen.

August 11, 2011

Lenny J's Barbecued Beef

A while back I asked my brother in-law Lenny to send me his recipe for sloppy joes.  I was corrected and told that his family calls this recipe barbecue beef.  Sorry Lenny (and Lenny's family). I do remember eating this at his house many times and loving it each time.  I pains me to say that.  I mean Lenny and I have an agreement never to compliment each other. ;-)
I am very glad to be in possession of this recipe now as I do enjoy it immensely.  Its a quick and easy weeknight meal or great for a large crowd.  Usually served on hamburger buns, I just didn't have any.

Start by browning some hamburger and then adding chopped celery..

Crisco shortening, or oil


Onion, vinegar, water, brown sugar and dry mustard.

Cook just until the celery begins to soften.

Serve on a hamburger bun, or some toasted bread (like me) and enjoy!

1 1/2 lb hamburger
2 C celery - chopped
1 C ketchup
1 Tbsp Crisco shortening or oil
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 C water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp onion - chopped (I used more like 1/4 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard

Brown the hamburger and then mix in the remaining ingredients.  Cook until the celery has begun to soften.