• Spicy Black Bean Pasta


    I’ve been making this dish for years, and it’s delicious. It’s comes together very quickly, so it’s great for a tasty weekinight meal. The original recipe comes from Stop and Smell the Rosemary, but over the years I’ve made many incarnations, in this is my version of black bean pasta.

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chili powder
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 cans black beens, drained and rinsed
    • 2 c. corn
    • 3 c. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 c. green onions, chopped
    • 1 box of whole grain penne
    • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1 c. cilantro, chopped


    1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chili powder, cumin, and chipotle chili powder and saute until spices are incorporated into the oil and fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in black beans and corn, and cook until heated through.
    2. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
    3. Add tomatoes, green onions, pasta, and feta to the skillet with the bean mixture, and toss to combine. Add cilantro and serve.

    Spicy Black Bean Pasta:


  • Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


    If you love the Chicken Milano dish, as I do, at Macaroni Grill, you’ll love this one. If you like mushrooms you can easily add them to this dish, but since -s loathes mushrooms I don’t cook with them. The sun-dried tomatoes add a wonderful sweetness to this dish. It’s also a great special occasion dish or want to impress dish. Not exactly a low fat or healthy dish, but it’s good to enjoy the occasional splurge. This recipe is based on a recipe in the Stop and Smell the Rosemary cookbook, which is one of my favorite cookbooks…note to self, cook more from this cookbook!

    • 1 tsp. of reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes
    • 4 shallots, minced
    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, but into strips
    • 8 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and oil reserved and tomatoes julienned
    • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
    • 1 14.5 oz box whole grain penne
    • 1 TBSP butter
    • 3/4 c. pecorino romano cheese
    • 1/2 c. fresh basil, chiffonade
    • salt to taste


    1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the box.
    2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and add chicken to the pan and saute until nearly cooked through; then add the shallots and saute 2 minutes or until soft; then add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.
    3. Stir in the cream and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. In a large bowl add the cooked hot pasta, butter, pecorino, sun-dried tomato cream sauce, and basil. Stir to combine. Adjust salt as necessary.

    Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes:


  • Pineapple Salsa


    This pineapple salsa is delicious. It’s best to use fresh pineapple, but if you can’t get ripe pineapple you can substitute canned chunked pineapple. The salsa also is great with fresh mango. I usually make this salsa in the summer time, and I top some grilled chicken with the salsa. It makes for a fresh light dinner. Tonight I topped baked salmon, and it was excellent. I’ve made this salsa for lots of people and it always goes over very well.


    • 1 1/2 c. pineapple or mango, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1/4 c. red pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 TBSP jalapeno, finely minced
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
    • 2 TBSP lime juice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt


    1. Combine, taste to adjust seasoning
    2. Top baked fish or grilled chicken
    3. Enjoy!

    Pineapple Salsa:


  • Chicken Piccata


    My version of Chicken Piccata is inspired by a Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe in Everyday Italian. I’ve made this dish before, but tonight I made my version, and it was delicious. It is so easy to make, and takes no time at all…great for a quick weeknight meal. The flavors are bold, bright and delicious.

    • 4 boneless chicken breasts
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1 c. flour
    • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 c. chicken broth
    • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 c. drained capers, rinsed
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    • Serve over pasta, orzo, or potatoes


    1. Place the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and pound the meat with a meat mallet until the breasts are about 1/2 inch thick.
    2. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl large enough for dredging the breasts. Dredge each breast.
    3. Heat 2 TBSP of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet and transfer to a plate.
    4. Add the garlic, broth, lemon juice, and capers to the same pan. Bring the broth mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan for extra flavor. Let the sauce reduce for about 8-10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken from the skillet to a plate. Whisk int he remaining 2 TBSP butter into the sauce; then add the parsley.
    5. Place your pasta, orzo, or potatoes on the plate; place your chicken on top, and then spoon the sauce over the chicken.

    Chicken Piccata:


  • Turkey Sandwiches with Chipotle Mayo


    This sandwich was so delicious! If you haven’t yet tried Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce, you should. It’s so good, and we add it to everything from eggs to chili. -s, who isn’t the biggest sandwich lover, said this one was really good, and he’d have it again.
    Ingredients for 2 sandwiches:

    • 2 Ciabatta rolls, toasted
    • 1/4 c. mayo
    • 2 tsp. (or however much you like) Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
      Jalapeno pepper jack cheese, sliced
    • Turkey slices
    • 1 avocado, sliced
    • Mescaline Greens


    1. Toast the roll.
    2. Meanwhile combine the mayo and Tabasco sauce
    3. Slice the cheese and avocado
    4. Assemble sandwich: spread mayo on both sides of the roll, add sliced cheese, turkey breast, avocado, and greens. Slice and enjoy!

    Turkey Sandwiches with Chipotle Mayo:


  • Meatloaf Sandwich


    If you are lucky enough to have any leftover meatloaf, it makes for a great sandwich the next day.


    • 1 Ciabatta roll, toasted
    • 1 TBSP. mayo
    • 1 slice of meatloaf


    1. Toast the ciabatta roll; then spread the mayo, place a slice of meatloaf on top and enjoy!

    Meatloaf Sandwich:


  • Mardi Gras King Cake


    It’s that time of year again…Mardi Gras! While living in Baton Rouge, LA, we discovered the delectable dessert, and our most favorite comes from Gambino’s. They come in all different flavors, but my most favorite is the traditional filling of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Having never made one before, I decided this year would be the year. I came across this recipe and gave it a whirl. I followed the directions for the filling (minus the pecans) of melting the butter, and I found that the filling was then too runny and oozed out the sides. So next time I will prepare the filling as I do for cinnamon rolls–spread softened butter, then add brown sugar and spices. So the recipe below reflects my changes for future king cakes.

    Most people don’t realize that the Mardi Gras colors actually have a meaning behind them. Purple = Justice, Gold = Power, and Green = Faith. The reason LSU’s colors are purple and gold, is that one time a long long time ago, the school needed some decorations, and the only decorations in the stores were items with Mardi Gras colors, so LSU then adopted purple and gold as the colors that represent the school.



    • 1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
    • 2 TBSP. Warm Water (115 degree F)
    • 1 tsp. Iodized Salt
    • 2 TBSP. Granulated Sugar
    • 1/4 c. Milk
    • 2 tsp. Orange Zest, minced
    • 2 c. Flour, sifted
    • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
    • 2 Eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/4 sticks cold butter, cut into cubes
    • 1 Egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the egg wash


    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 2/3 c. Brown Sugar
    • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. Ground Allspice


    • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • enough lemon juice to make the glaze thin enough to drizzle
    • purple, green and yellow sugar sprinkles


    1. Dissolve the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, let stand until frothy.
    2. Dissolve the salt, sugar, orange zest and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.
    3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and melt.
    4. Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
    5. When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
    6. Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Mix the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Spread the softened butter on the dough and then sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside of the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
    7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    8. Before baking, brush the entire king cake with the egg wash.
    9. Place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown–start checking at 25 minutes.
    10. When the cake cool, drizzle the top of the cake with the icing and sprinkle with the colored sugar in stripes.
    11. Place on a large round serving plate and decorate with Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and whatever else that you like.

    King Cake:


  • Tabouli Salad


    At the grocery store today we found this tabouli mix.


    I usually don’t buy packaged mixes, because they tend to be loaded with sodium, but this mix has very very little sodium. So I decided to give it a try, and it was excellent!


    • Bulgar package mix (has parsley and onion in it)
    • 2 c. cold water
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 1/3 c. canola oil
    • 1/2 c. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. black pepper


    1. Bulgar: Add bulgar mix and cold water, and let soak while prepare the rest of the salad.
    2. Veggies: Combine the tomatoes, cucumber and onions together.
    3. Dressing: In another bowl, combine the canola oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
    4. Add veggies and dressing and mix well. Refrigerate at least 4 hours in a covered container.

    If you can’t get this mix, I think the following recipe will approximate it quite well.


    • 1 c. bulgar
    • 1 c. boiling water
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 1 c. fresh parsley or a mixture of parsley and mint, chopped (you can add less parsley if you prefer)
    • 1 shallot, finely chopped
    • 1/3 c. canola oil
    • 1/2 c. lemon juice
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper


    1. Bulgar: Pour boiling water over bulgar, and cover while you prepare the rest of the salad.
    2. Veggies: Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, shallots and parsley together.
    3. Dressing: In another bowl, combine the canola oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
    4. Add veggies and dressing and mix well. Refrigerate at least 4 hours in a covered container.

    Tabouli Salad:


  • Mom’s Meatloaf


    Nothing says comfort food like a really good meatloaf. I probably make meatloaf once a year, and every time I make it I wonder why I don’t make it more often. Leftovers make for delicious sandwiches too. Not the prettiest main dish to photograph, but it was definitely a hit…my kiddos devoured their meatloaf!

    • 2 lb. lean ground meat
    • 1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    • 3/4 c. milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 TBSP minced onion
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • Top with 1 c. ketchup, or how ever much you like


    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Mix all ingredients (through pepper) together.
    3. Bake in an ungreased loaf pan for 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour add as much or as little ketchup as you want to the top of meatloaf, and then bake for the remaining 30 minutes.

    Mom’s Meatloaf:


  • Simple Homemade Red Sauce


    We use this homemade red sauce on homemade pasta as well as box pasta. It’s so easy to make, and so delicious. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.


    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 8 garlic cloves, smashed with the back of your knife
    • 2 28 oz. cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes, such as Cento. If you can’t find those, Muir Glen whole tomatoes with basil works well.
    • sugar and salt as needed
    • 8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
    • 1 lb. pasta-your choice


    1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add smashed garlic; saute for about 1 minute.
    2. Add the tomatoes, juice and all. With a potato smasher or large wooden spoon smash the tomatoes. Simmer over medium heat for about 35 minutes, until sauce is thickened or as long as you can, and periodically smash the tomatoes.
    3. Once the sauce reaches your desired consistency, correct seasoning with salt and sugar, as needed.
    4. Stir in 1/2 basil, and serve over hot pasta and garnish with remaining basil.

    Simple Homemade Red Sauce: