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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Southwest Rice Bowls

I was craving margaritas this Friday. Tequila, limes, salt….So that we wouldn’t just sit around the house and drink, I made Southwest Rice Bowls to complement our adult beverages. This was so good and that isn’t the tequila talking. The flavors melded perfectly and the dish was sumptuous looking. I am going to serve this at a dinner party soon.

I realize that at first glance this recipe appears daunting. 17 ingredients? However, this is actually a recipe for 4 dishes: beans, rice, peppers and onions, and steak. The way I have given these instructions, you are cooking everything at the same time. If you aren’t there yet in your cooking skills, you can cook everything separately and keep the individual components warm. I would cook the onions and peppers first, then the beans, then the rice and meat.

This is a complete dish. You don’t need any sides. The squeeze of lime before eating is necessary for a splash of acid and brightness. The next day, there were a few leftovers. I put everything but the steak in a sauce pot with chicken broth, tomato paste, and leftover chicken. I stirred in chili powder and dropped in a bay leaf. That soup was delicious, too.

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Active time 30 minutes; Cook: 30 Minutes, Rice bowls in about 40 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a gallon Ziploc bag, 2 deep skillets, a large sauce pot, a small sauce pot, a strainer, a plate, a can opener, tongs, many wooden spoons and serving bowls

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1-15 ounce can of black beans
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1-12-ounce steam-in-the-bag, frozen, super sweet corn
  • 1 large onion-at least 8 ounces
  • 1 large green pepper-at least 8 ounces
  • Cooking spray
  • Oil to fill your large skillet half way
  • 1½ pounds top round cut into thin strips
  • 1 + 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream, salsa and ¼ lime for garnish, optional-slices of avocado and pickled jalapeño

Southwest Rice Bowl

  1. Put the chicken stock and chopped cilantro on to boil. As soon as the stock begins to boil, add the rice. Boil for 20 minutes and strain. Taste and adjust the salt.
  2. While the rice is boiling, slice the onions into rings. Don’t slice them too thin or they will burn rather than caramelize. Slice the green pepper into long then strips. Spray one pan liberally with cooking spray. Add the onions and peppers and cook over medium. Keep an eye on them and toss when necessary to keep from burning. When they have cooked to the texture you prefer, remove them to the plate. Keep them warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  3. Put the black beans and oregano in the small sauce pot to warm
  4. Microwave the corn using the package directions
  5. Salt and pepper the steak. Also, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cumin over it and rub it in.
  6. Place the cornstarch, corn meal, the rest of the cumin, the cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt in the plastic bag. Seal and shake. Then add the steak and shake. Make sure all the steak is coated. 
  7. Fill the other skillet half way with oil and heat on high. When the oil is very hot, shake as much cornstarch off as possible. Drop the steak into the hot oil. Do not crowd the meat. You may need to cook it in batches. The oil should be hot enough that the meat crisps up immediately. You should cook each slice for no more than two minutes. Extra thick pieces may take another minute, but no more. As you finish, remove the meat to the plate with the onions and peppers. Beware, this method splatters.
  8. To create the rice bowls, fill each bowl with rice. Then visually divide the bowl into quarters. Fill one quarter with beans, one with corn, the 3rd with peppers and onions and the 4th with meat. Place a tablespoon of sour cream and a tablespoon of salsa in the center. Give each guest a quarter of a lime to squeeze over their entire bowl.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lemony Shrimp with Wilted Spinach

If you have guests coming over and very little time to prepare a meal, Lemony Shrimp with Wilted Spinach can be made in around 20 minutes. Open a bagged salad, stick a loaf of French bread in the oven and pull the cork from a bottle of white wine. Your guests will be impressed and you won’t be stuck in the kitchen. You don’t need to wait for company.

The seasoning in this dish is very mild. If you want you can add more garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you prefer more sauce then add another ¼ cup of white wine and ¼ cup stock.

This meal is quick, healthy, tasty and easy to make.

Lemony Shrimp with Wilted Spinach
Servings: 4-6
Time:  Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 10 minutes; Dinner in 20 minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a deep skillet, a zester, a bowl, a slotted spoon, tongs

  • 1 lb. 21/25 count shrimp-cleaned with tails removed
  • ½ stick butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 6 ounce of fresh baby spinach
  • Salt & pepper
  • 8 ounces of prepared angel hair

  1.  Wash the basil roughly chop it. Wash the spinach. Slice the garlic. Squeeze and zest the lemons. Generously salt the shrimp. Set everything aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the skillet on medium. 
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until you can smell it (a minute or so.) Toss in the shrimp, basil, and lemon zest. Cook until the shrimp is cooked through. Flip the shrimp once This should take 2-3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to the bowl with the slotted spoon. 
  4. Add the wine, chicken broth and lemon juice to the skillet and turn the heat to medium high. Allow the liquid to come to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. This should take 5-6 minutes. Return the shrimp and any juice in the bowl to the skillet. Allow everything to meld. Using the tongs, toss the wilted spinach and shrimp. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt and add pepper.
  5. Serve warm over angel hair pasta.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Banana Pudding Pie

Every Easter my family gets together to play games, hide eggs, catch up and eat. My family is big, really big and no one could feed the entire crowd. So, my sister Renee or my sister Patty volunteer to host and everyone brings a dish.

Most people have a signature dish:  my Aunt Gayle brings macaroni salad, my Aunt Jenny (who we lost this year) brings Aunt Jenny’s Pink Stuff, a mixture of jello, marshmallows, and nuts, and I am famous for always bringing something new.

This year I am bringing Banana Pudding Pie. Banana pudding is a Southern favorite. The basic ingredients are vanilla pudding, bananas and vanilla wafers, but everyone has a different take on it. Some people use different cookies, some people add whipped cream and some people even add coconut. I am doing a new take on my favorite dessert, no-bake cheesecake. I hope you like it.
Banana Pudding Pie
Servings:  8
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes, active time: 15 minutes, pie in 2 ½ hours
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and knives, a food processor, a mixer, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, plastic wrap, wax paper, an 8-inch springform pan and space in the fridge


  • 1-5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2-8 ounce packages cream cheese
  • 3 bananas
  • Whip cream for garnish


  • 1 box vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick of butter

  1. Cut out a circle of wax paper to fit the bottom of the springform pan. Line the pan and set aside.
  2. Set aside 18 of the best cookies. Place the rest of the cookies in the food processor and grind them to crumbs. Melt the butter in the mixing bowl. Mix 2 cups of the cookie crumbs, the sugar and butter together. Press the cookie mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Place the pan in the fridge. Save the rest of the cookie crumbs for garnish. Wipe out the mixing bowl.
  3. Place the pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk, and cream cheese into the mixing bowl. Mix on high for about 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for another 2 minutes.
  4. Stand the reserved cookies up, bottom facing in, along the edges of the springform pan as if you were building a fence.
  5. Slice 2 of the bananas and line the crust with the slices.
  6. Use the spatula to carefully spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the bananas.
  7. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  8. To serve, carefully remove from the springform and use the wax paper to slide onto a large serving platter. Sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbs over the pie. Slice the remaining banana and top each slice of pie with a banana slice and a dollop of whipped topping.