Taco seasoning


This makes a large batch. I recommend using between 2-4 tablespoons of the mix for each pound of ground meat. The amount varies on the lean percent of ground beef and also if you are using  ground turkey. Turkey usually needs more seasoning. I add the seasoning on e the meat is browned. Add the seasoning with 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

1.5 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander



Salmon cakes


These freeze so well. Frozen patties make an absolutely easy weeknight dinner. We always buy a half salmon for grilling. We use whatever is left for patties the next day. 1-1.5 cup of cooked salmon makes about 4 patties. I also use any extra bread from the week to make these. The taste varies a bit based on the type of bread. My favorite is leftover french bread. I do not even always dry the bread out. Often, I just make crumbs in the food processor and use it as is.


1.5 cups cooked leftover salmon

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

3-4 chopped green onions

1 egg

1 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon old bay seasoning

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon yellow mustard



Mix all ingredients together. Form into patties about the size of the palm on your hand. Freeze on a silicone mat for 1-2 hours. Place a layer of parchment paper between the patties and transfer them to a freezer safe bag.

When ready to cook:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Cook the patties in the skilled for 2-4 minutes per side or until just browned. They will not be fully cooked. Place the patties on a raised grate and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. My raised grate is a cooling rack placed inside of a cookie sheet.




Chicken and okra creole


This happens to be one of the times where I want the tastiest chicken possible. Sometimes when chicken is braised in sauce or made in a crock pot, it turns rubbery or over cooks to mush and cannot be identified as chicken. For that reason, I prefer grilling the chicken breast first and adding it at very end. Also, you could use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.

This recipe also allows me to use all the okra we grow in the garden.



1 cup sliced okra

1 can corn, drained

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

1 jalapeño, sliced

1 large (1 pound) chicken breast, grilled and sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon paprika

3 large tomatoes, rough chopped

1/4-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

green onions, diced for garnish

cooked white rice to serve with


Heat the oil in a wok or pot on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the chicken broth, cayenne, bay leaf, tomatoes, paprika, thyme, corn and okra. Simmer on low uncovered for about 10-15 minutes stirring often. Add in chicken. Cook another 3-5 minutes until chicken is just heated. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste. Serve over rice and top with green onions.






Standing rib roast – prime rib


This recipe cooks a perfect rare toast beef. I use it on both boneless and bone in ribeye roast. In fact… I have used it on other cuts such as bottom round roast. It works just as well but that cut if meat is not as marbled and a bit more dry. I would never cook a chuck roast this way as it has too much fat.


Garlic powder



4-5 pound ribeye roast

Mix the garlic powder and pepper in equal amounts. Add about 3 times that amount in salt. This is the base seasoning rub. Cover all areas of the roast with this seasoning mixture. As you can see in my photo, I make a thicker crust of seasoning on the roast. Allow the roast to set out after seasoning it. The roast must be room temperature prior to cooking. It must set out for 2-3 hours before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the roast rib side down and fat side up in a roasting pan or foil lined baking dish. Place the pan in the preheated oven. Roast uncovered for one hour with no water in the pan. From here on do NOT open the oven door for any reason. Turn the oven off for 3-5 hours. Do not leave it off for more than 5 hours.

After the 3-5 hour wait, turn the oven back on to 375 degrees. Again do NOT open the oven. Roast for 35-40 minutes. 35 minutes is for a rare roast. 40 minutes is for medium rare roast. Add 10 more minutes (50 minutes) for more well done. Now open the oven.

Allow the roast to rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before slicing.

This recipe will work for a roast up to 10 pounds.









Pork empanadas


My husband loves smoking pork shoulders. The average weighs about 9 pounds of meat. I run out of ideas for all the leftovers. I can only handle so many pulled pork sandwiches. This is a great way to use the leftover pork and it does not taste leftover. In fact, you can assemble these and freeze them for easy later use. One batch makes about 8-10 very large empanadas.


12 tablespoons cold butter

3 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoon white vinegar

1/2 cup cold water

Pulse the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor until combined. It will appear like coarse crumbs. Mix the water, egg, and vinegar. Pour over the flour and continue to pulse until just combined. Flour the surface and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a least 2 hours.





3 cups leftover smoked pork

1/2 yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano

1 small can diced green chilis with juice

4 small jalapenos

Pulse all of the above in a food processor until it has a pate consistency. The jalapeno does not need to be seeded.


Egg wash:

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

Mix the egg and water together. Set aside to brush the top of the pies.

When ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut circles that are 6-8 inch diameter using a template or cereal bowl up-side-down. Place an egg sized amount of filling on the circle. Fold over half of the circle. Press down the edge over the filling using a fork. Place the pies on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Brush the top using egg wash. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.



Sour cream noodle bake


I know that this is a classic midwest dish. My mom made it regularly when we were growing up. It was popular with us before it was even really popular. I changed it slightly to add more flavor in the sauce. I had tried fresh garlic in a few batches but it honestly is not very good. The garlic powder makes a difference.


1-1.5 pounds 80% ground beef

15 ounces tomato sauce

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1 green pepper, diced

8 ounces egg noodles

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup sliced green onion

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar


Cook the ground beef in a skillet (breaking it to small pieces) until done. Drain the meat. Replace in the pan with tomato sauce, garlic, green pepper, onion, salt and pepper. Cook while stirring often for about 20-30 minutes.


Boil water in a pot and cook the egg noodles. Drain when at desired texture. Place the noodles back in the pot. Stir in the cottage cheese, sour cream, and green onions.


Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Begin layering the meat, then noodles, the meat, etc. Make the final layer meat and then top with cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes. Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes of baking. Serve with french bread.











Southwest chicken spaghetti


I have never been a fan of velveeta. Its okay for queso but I have to admit that even then…. it is not my favorite. This is my spin on chicken spaghetti with some spice and a nice creamy texture that is not overly fattening and creamy.

8 ounces thin spaghetti broken into 1/3

1 poblano pepper

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 can rotel

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups cooked chicken or rotisserie

1/4 cup milk


Roast the poblano in a 400 degree oven. Let cool slightly. Peel, seed and dice the pepper.

Boil the spaghetti in salted water. Drain and rinse the noodles 1 minute before the minimum cook time.

In a bowl, mix the soup, rotel, cumin, raw onion, raw red bell pepper, roasted poblano, milk, and cheese. Add the spaghetti noodles and chicken.

Transfer all of mixture into a prepared casserole pan. Top with additional cheddar cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove the foil. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes to brown/melt the cheese.





Roasted Brussel sprouts


I realize there will be people who disagree with my trick for these. I am not trying to please everyone. Grandma had a trick to her cooking – bacon grease! While it is not always heart healthy, bacon and brussel sprouts sure go well together. You can also use oil or butter but the crispiness and browning are just not the same. I store my leftover bacon grease in a jar in the fridge for a week. I really only use it for brussel sprouts, green beans, and black eyed peas. For these 3 dishes, it makes a world of difference.


Brussel sprouts

1/2 cup small diced yellow onion

2 tablespoon bacon grease

salt and pepper


Clean and wash brussel sprouts. Cut them either in halves or quarters depending on the size. Place the sprouts and onion in an 8×12 baking dish in a single layer. Add bacon grease on top (it will melt later). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree for 15-25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.


Rather than plain black pepper, I really like Jane’s crazy mixed up pepper seasoning for these.


Crab and leek chowder

I recently made steamed crab for dinner and for some reason bought way way too much. I had about 10-16 ounces of leftover crab legs to use. I ended up using one of Rachel Ray’s recipes and It was a true keeper. I only changed a bit of seasoning and I will certainly make this more often. Next time I will try to find the leeks already cleaned. They are a real pain to deal with, but worth it for the flavor.


3 leeks, trimmed, wash and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

3 ribs celery, washed and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 slices bacon chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons flour

3-4 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2-1 pound crab meat

1/2 tablespoon old bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 tablespoon cajun seasoning


Cook the  bacon in a large soup pot. When crisp, remove.


Add the olive oil to the pan. On medium heat, saute the leeks, carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes.


Add the dry seasoning. Add the flour. Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring constantly to prevent forming lumps.


Add the potatoes and bacon. Bring to a boil.  Cook for 10-15 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, boil a minute or two longer.


Add the cream and crab. Stir well and serve.



Corned beef


This is great either with sides or sliced for reuben sandwiches. If you do not care for the saltiness of the beef, soak it overnight in water.


packet mix included with the beef

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder


Rinse the beef fully.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the meat fat side up on the foil. Mix all seasonings and place it on the fat layer. Leave the foil open. Cook for 4 hours.

Add 1/2 cup water. Close the foil. Cook another 2-3 hours until beef temerature is 185 degrees. Rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.