Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

My husband loves Tex-Mex food. I was going to make enchiladas for dinner. However, after making the sauce, I realized that we were out of shells. Now what? I was staring into the pantry when it came to me that we were out of tortilla shells, but we did have pasta shells. Why not? I mixed Tex-Mex flavors with Italian American pasta and now we have Enchilada Stuffed Shells. Foodies call this Fusion Cuisine. Call it what you want, it is yummy.

You can purchase your favorite enchilada sauce or make your own. Same with the taco seasoning. After cooking, you could top this with chopped tomatoes and a little cilantro.

Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A very large pot, parchment paper, a cutting board and knives, measuring cups & spoons, a large skillet, a wooden spoon, a colander, a regular spoon, and a 9 x 13 glass baking dish
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 25 minutes; Dinner in an hour

  • 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces)
  • ¼ green pepper (4 ounces)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning (you can use a package or make your own)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 + 1 cups enchilada sauce (You can buy 2 large cans)
  • 1 + ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cooking spray

  1. If you are making your own enchilada sauce, do that first. You can make it a day or two before.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  3. Dice the onion and green pepper. Pre-measure everything and set aside.
  4. Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper. Fill the large pot with salted water and bring to a full boil. Add the shells and cook according to the package directions. Follow the instructions for al dente, which means that they have bite. The shells should still be firm because they will cook more in the oven. Drain them completely and rinse them with cold water. Place them open side down on the parchment paper.
  5. While the shells are cooking, heat the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion and green pepper and cook and crumble until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the grease. Return the mixture to the pan and add the taco seasoning, cream cheese, 1 cup of the enchilada sauce, and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Bring to a simmer and stir until the cream cheese is melted. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  6. Spray the bottom of the baking dish with cooking spray. Add just enough of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Gently fill each shell with the beef mixture and place the shells, facing up, into the prepared dish. If there is any beef mixture left over, you can nestle it around the shells or freeze it. Pour the enchilada sauce over the shells and sprinkle the remaining cheddar over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with a side salad.

Enchilada Sauce

I like to have the ingredients to make enchilada sauce on hand. Enchiladas are inexpensive, filling and allow you to have variety. You can always buy pre-made enchilada sauce, but I prefer to make my own. I can control the amount to salt and other questionable ingredients. You can also stir in 2 tablespoons of mole paste with the chili powder, etc. You can make the sauce 3 days ahead if you store it in the fridge.

Servings: 4 cups
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, saucepan, whisk


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour (I used mesa, which is corn flour, to give this a more authentic taste.)
  • ⅓ cup mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ - ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper (depending upon how much you like heat)
  • 3 cups broth (beef or vegetable)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt

  1. In the saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until it begins to sizzle.
  2. Add the flour and whisk constantly until there are no lumps and the flour is a nice golden, buttery color. This should take about 2 minutes. (This is called a roux.)
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and onion & garlic powders. Whisk until everything is incorporated and you have removed all lumps.
  4. Slowly add the broth & water. Whisk often, scrapping the sides and bottom of the pan. Whisk in the tomato paste.
  5. Simmer the sauce for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt.

Use this in Enchiladas, Onion Enchiladas and Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Monday, July 1, 2019

Red, White and Blue Burgers

Red, White and Blue Burgers

Independence Day was my inspiration for these Red, White and Blue Burgers. Red comes from the sweet and a little spicy Sweet Pepper Relish. Sharp and slightly sour Lemon Garlic Aioli provides the white. Blue cheese is bluish and finishes up this burger perfectly. This was wonderful. The flavors meld seamlessly. I ate one for breakfast the next day.

Servings:  6 burgers
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowl, no-powder latex gloves, a spatula, a heavy bottom frying pan
Time: Prep-10 minutes, Cook-7-10 minutes, Burgers in 20 minutes


  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef (the best that you can afford)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Montreal Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sweet Pepper Relish
  • Lemon Garlic Aioli
  • 6 ounces of crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 buns
  • Cooking spray

  1. This is easiest to do with your hands. Put on the gloves. Mix the beef, the Montreal Seasoning and water together. Don’t over handle the beef as it will make tough burgers.
  2. Divide the ground beef into 6 equal patties. Make a small dimple in the center of each burger. Generously, salt and pepper the burgers. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Heat the pan over medium-high. Place the burgers into the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes and then flip. Cook for 5-6 more minutes. Place an ounce of cheese onto each burger during the last minute or so of cooking so that it will melt.
  3. To serve smear each side of the split buns with Lemon Garlic Aioli. Place the warm burgers onto the split buns, cheese side up. Top each burger with the Sweet PepperRelish. The burgers really do not need anything else. So very good!