Restaurant style red salsa

For this salsa, the spice level will really depend on the jalapeno that you purchase and also if you use the mild or regular Rotel. It is best if it sits for at least 8-12 hours before eating it.

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained

5-6 small Roma tomatoes

1/4 of a medium yellow onion

1 jalapeno seeded and rough chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder – (guajillo)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend to the desired consistency. Make sure to refrigerate the mixture for at least 8-12 hours before eating. Will keep for up to 1 week.

Fresh basil and tomato pasta salad

10 ounces pasta – whole wheat or not

5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water.

Place the pasta, tomatoes, corn, and fresh basil in a large bowl.

Mix the olive oil, minced garlic, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Once this is fully mixed, add the parmesan. Allow it to sit for 15-45 minutes before dressing the salad.

Leftover mashed potato balls

These are really like a homemade tater tot but with a different texture. Because they need to be frozen, it would be very easy to make them ahead of time and keep them frozen until needed. See the next photo for the texture inside. The kids really enjoyed them. My mom used to make potato pancakes or fritters. What I really enjoy about these (unlike the fritters) is the fluffy texture of the center.

3 cups leftover mashed potatoes

6 tablespoons egg whites

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

6 tablespoons parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

vegetable oil for frying

Mix the potatoes, egg whites, and flour until well mixed.

Place the panko crumbs and parmesan in a separate bowl. Take approximately 1 tablespoon of the potato mix and form it into a ball. It will be sticky. You wont want it dry. See my photos. Gently roll it in the panko to make it less sticky. Place the balls on a silpat lined baking sheet or on parchment paper.

Freeze the balls for at least 2 hours before frying.

Head the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry the potato balls for about 3-5 minutes each or until golden brown.

Tom Kha Gai Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, rough chopped

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1 whole jalapeƱo, rough chopped

3 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger

1 lemongrass stalk or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste

3 teaspoons red curry paste

4 cups chicken broth

2 cans of coconut milk (light is fine)

2 medium chicken breasts, thinly sliced

8 ounces of mushrooms (oyster or shitake)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice – 2 limes

fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, head the oil over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, garlic, jalapeno, lemongrass, and curry paste. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken broth, continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Now that there is a flavorful base, strain the broth and discard all of the onions, chili, lemongrass, and ginger. Replace the broth into the pot over low heat. Add in the coconut milk, chicken, fish sauce, mushrooms. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add in lime juice, cilantro, and the green onions. Let sit 5 minutes and then serve.

Yeast doughnuts

These doughnuts take a bit of time but they are wonderful and worth it. They do not keep well beyond 1 day. They are pretty much an “eat them right now” food. You can make the first portion the night before needed. If so, you are just waiting on the 1 hour rise before frying.

Dough –

1 1/8 cup whole milk at room temperature

1/4 cup white sugar

2 1/4 teaspoon quick rise yeast

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 sticks butter (10 tablespoons) melted

4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

oil to fry


1/2 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Bring the milk to 110 degrees by warming it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Ensure it is the proper temperature using a thermometer. Add the sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. After 5 minutes, stir in the beaten egg and melted butter.

In a mixing bowl, add the flour and the salt. With a dough mixer, slowly add the yeast mixture into the flour. Allow this to mix for at least 5 minutes.

Turn the mixer off and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to make, roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the doughnuts to desired circles/holes or (as I did in this photo), make small balls and then stick your finger through the center to make a hole.

Cover these and allow them to double in size which takes about 30-60 minutes.

Fry the dough in 375 degree oil. They will fry for about 1-2 minutes per side or until light brown. Remove them and let them sit on a wire rack to drain.

While still hot, dip the doughnuts into the glaze and allow them to cool.

Mustard vinaigrette coleslaw

This is my favorite slaw to eat with smoked pulled pork.

1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour this over the cabbage, carrot, and green onion mix. Refrigerate at least 4-6 hours before eating.

Meatballs on the grill

16 ounces ground beef

16 ounces ground pork

3 ounces prosciutto, diced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

2 onions, small diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

Combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.

Make the meatballs in golf ball size portions (3-4 tablespoons). Place the meatballs on parchment paper and freeze for 1 hour before cooking.

Set the green egg with an off set plate. Bake the meatballs directly on the grill at 325 degrees. Place a shallow pan under the grill to collect any fat and juice as the meatballs cook. Continue to cook the meatballs (rotating often) until they are 155 degrees internally. We have added hickory and mesquite chips with this recipe but we really prefer the flavor of non-smoked meatballs better.

At this point the meatballs can be stewed in tomato sauce or eaten as is.

French Bread


1 1/8 cup 110 degree water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon yeast

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with sugar. Allow it to activate for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with dough hook attached, add the flour, salt and oil. Combine. Add in the yeast mixture and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be a soft ball that is not sticky. If it is sticky, add in an addition 1/4 cup flour.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to sit in a warm place or bread proof setting in the oven for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press and shape it into a rectangle that is about9x13 inches in size. Begin to roll the dough from one side (on the long side). Once rolled, place it seem side down on the baking sheet. Cut deep cuts into the top using a sharp knife.

Allow it to rise another hour or so until doubled in size again.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the loaf for 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate pound cake

Dense rich chocolate pound cake with a chocolate pecan glaze. My kids LOVED this cake.

For the cake:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces bittersweet cocoa

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans – optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

Place the stick of butter and semi sweet chocolate bars in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds. Stir. The chocolate will continue to melt slowly as you stir. Microwave in additional 10 second increments if needed. Continue stirring between cooking.

Once fully melted, stir in the sugar. Add the vanilla and then the eggs. Slowly add the half and half until fully combined.

Finally add the baking powder, baking soda, and flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 50-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes. Remove from the pan by inverting the pan.

Prepare the glaze by melting the butter and chocolate chips over low heat in a double boiler. Once melted, add the corn syrup and vanilla (and nuts if using). While hot, pour this over the cake. Continue to allow the cake to cool fully before cutting it.

Here is the final product.

Orange Cranberry Pecan Bread

Oh my! This is really great. It is almost too sweet to be considered a brunch bread (in my opinion). Although, it is good enough that I cannot resist a slice. This bread cooks with a very moist loaf. Leaving the loaf in the pan until completely cool is essential or else it will fall apart. Also, know that the center of the loaf will sink slightly and appear to deflate once it is out of the oven. As long as the tooth pick is clean when inserted, it is done.

2 1/4 cups flour – divided

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 salt

1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 large egg

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoons orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice (one small cutie will do)

1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Prepare the topping by mixing the cold butter, 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cinnamon. Cut all together until it is crumbly pea sized pieces.

For the bread, whisk together egg, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Add in the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly add in the remaining 2 cups flour, baking soda, salt, pecans, and cranberries. Stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan. Top with the streusel.

Bake for 1 hour to 70 minutes. Test the bread using a toothpick. It is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Remove the bread from the pan and pour the glaze over the top.

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