Friday, March 20, 2009

Lulu LaRue's Colorful Confetti Potato Soup... Great In Any Weather

Yes, it's going to be up around 77 degrees here today. Please don't hate me. You could live here too (if you can take the West Texas heat, that is)! So, I'm going to be headed to the golf course here in about an hour, to play a round of 18 with the girls. I'm even going to wear a pair of capris, if I can find them. (Hey, it's been a while since it's been this warm.) I mean, yesterday the high was in the 60's and I made Potato Soup. So, I'm serving Potato Soup for dinner tonight when I get home. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This will also be my entry in the Potato Ho Down for April, which is being hosted by Donalyn over @ Dlynz. More entries are always welcome, so if you're another potato ho and you'd like to join in the fun, then get it on. The Potato Ho Down was the brainchild of Noble Pig's Cathy and Evil Chef Mom's Krysta, where you will find the best Potato Ho recipes ever. Frankly, I'm a total amateur compared to these talented ladies.


3 cups diced potatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots (optional)
1 cup diced celery
5 cloves of garlic
2 cups milk
3 cups organic chicken broth
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper


1. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions and sauté them for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook a moment longer.

2. Add the chicken broth (adjusting amount as you need it) and simmer over medium low fire until vegetables are tender.
3. Once potatoes are cooked, I mash the potatoes rather coarsely so there are still some chunks.
4. Last of all, add the parsley and the milk, then salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Economical Leftover Spaghetti Sauce Lasagna

Since our children are no longer living at home, we often have large amounts of leftovers after having spaghetti with meat sauce. In my quest to quit waxting so much food, I started saving the leftover sauce and keeping it in the freezer until there is enough to make hearty lasagna. It also saves me from having to go through the whole meat sauce process, which saves me huge amounts of time. If you're in a hurry, you could also use jars of ready made, but I prefer my own sauce. Besides, it is far more economical this way.

Since there are only two of us, I'm always able to make two smaller casseroles of lasagna, which also saves me another night of slaving over a hot stove, grill, or oven. What's not to love about that? So, let's get this show on the road, shall we?


1/2 box of lasagna noodles, cooked al dente'

5 cups Italian meat sauce (or leftover spaghetti sauce)

1 container (15 ounce) container of ricotta cheese

4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 ounce) Parmesan cheese, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook noodles according to box directions, drain, and separate.

3. Heat meat sauce in a large pot, simmering until heated.

4. Spray 13x9 casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray.

5. Spread about 3/4 to 1 cup of meat sauce over the bottom of the pan.

6. Place 2 to 3 lasagna noodles over the meat sauce, overlapping if necessary.

7. Place bits of ricotta all over the noodles.

8. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the entire pan and cover with meat sauce.

9. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, reserving enough mozzarella for topping.

10. Finally, sprinkle shredded Parmesan evenly over the top.

11. Cover casserole in foil so that it doesn't invert, otherwise you'll have cheese sticking to it.

12. Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

13. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

14. After removing from oven, allow lasagna to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

15. Serve with garlic toast and tossed salad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shredded Grilled Pork Tacos In Soft Corn Tortillas With The Works

I've sampled several versions of pork tacos but they have all been made with boiled or stewed pork, which just isn't my favorite..

In this recipe I use my Coffee Crusted Smoked Pork Tenderloin in place of the boiled pork (which I don't much care for). The grilled pork adds such a marvelous smokey flavor to the tacos that all other ways of cooking it, pale in comparison.

This pork hasn't been over-cooked and you can have it the first night for dinner then use the leftover portion for the tacos. It's a win-win recipe, all the way.

Shredded Grilled Pork Tacos With The Works:



Leftover Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Pulled

1 Package of Fresh Soft Corn Tortillas

1 Cup Shredded Cabbage

1/2 Cup Chopped Onions

1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Grated

1 Large Avocado, Thinly Sliced

1 Carton of Fresh Hot Sauce or Pico de Gayo


1. If the pork tenderloin is not yet cooked, then you will want to grill it, making sure you get a good crispy crust on it. Once it has cooled enough to handle, pull or shred the pork and set aside.

2. After preparing all of the trimmings, place each in a separate small serving bowl, providing spoons for self serving purposes. I usually set everything out in buffet style and allow everyone to serve themselves. Enjoy!

You may have noticed that I forgot to put the coleslaw on before taking the pictures. Let's just chalk that up to a *Senior Moment*, which I'm having far too many of these days....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Texas Caviar... It Can Be Whatever You Want It To Be

Of course, this is a wonderful dip to serve for New Year's Eve, but in Texas we have it any time there is a get-together of friends or family, so you can truly make it whatever you like.

It can also be used as a side dish or relish, making it a very versatile dish indeed. I grow my own habaneros, jalapenos, black eyed peas, and tomatoes in the summer, which makes it even better.

You can also add or take away ingredients and totally change it up. All you need is a little imagination! Let's get started.


3 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained, rinsed

1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped Italian parsley (or cilantro)

2 jalapenos, seeded, deveined & minced

4 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 large tomato, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


Combine the peas, bell peppers, green onions, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, jalapenos, garlic, tomato, vinegar and olive oil in a nonreactive bowl and mix well.

Chill, covered, for 8 hours or longer. Stir in the salt and pepper and let stand until it reaches room temperature. Serve with tortilla chips and / or crackers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fresh Ahi Tuna Potato Cakes On A Bed Of Sauteed Spinach & Parmesan

Let me start out by saying that the cakes I cooked in these pictures were foolishly cooked in olive oil, which promptly burned the entire batch. Lesson learned, right?

When I told my husband that I was going to make potato tuna cakes, he scoffed at the idea, thinking that I would be making them like his mother did. I think not! This isn't the '60's and I'm not June Cleaver, thank you very much. He thought they would be made from canned tuna. Yuck! Not in my house, no sir. We'd had grilled tuna steaks Sunday night along with Caesar salad. Since we'd eaten a large lunch neither of us could eat much so I saved the leftovers and decided to make the potato tuna cakes.

They turned out so divine that even he could not help but rave over these. Yes, Mr. Skeptical himself. You'd think that after 31 years of marriage (and my cooking) he would have had a bit more faith in me (Okay, there have been a few many screwed up meals on my journey). However, since he watches the food network, he thinks I'm an amateur. Basically, I am an amateur, but that doesn't mean I can't still crank out a great dinner idea here and there. Oh he of little faith!

So, I thought I'd share this recipe with my few readers.

This also my entry for this month's Potato Ho-Down, which is being hosted by evil chef mom and noble pig. Here we go...

Spicy Fresh Potato Tuna Cakes:


1/2 cup diced yellow onion

5 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press

1/2 cup diced green onion, minced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, minced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced

1/4 cup diced celery, minced

2 cups fresh grilled, grill smoked, or baked tuna 1-1/2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes (you can use instant mashed potatoes)

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon lemon

salt & pepper, to taste

grated parmesan cheese, to taste

canola oil


1. In a skillet, saute' the first 6 ingredients for 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Tear the tuna steaks into small chunks in a large mixing bowl.

3. In another mixing bowl, combine the slightly beaten egg and the mashed potatoes and blend well.

4. Add the cooked veggies to the mashed potato mixture. Add the entire potato mixture to the tuna.

5. Add the chopped parsley, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and the lemon. Mix well.

6. Form mixture into patties and place on wax paper or parchment paper lining a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for up 6 hours.

7. In a very large skillet, heat the oil to just befor it begins to smoke (very hot when held a few inches above the skillet).

8. Place three cakes at a time in hot oil so that the skillet temperature doesn't cool too much. Cook about 5 to 6 minutes per side and put on paper towels placed on a rack, in a warm oven.

These cakes are also very good with a dipping sauce. May fave is The Outback Steakhouse dipping sauce they serve with Bloomin' Onions & with Fried Mushrooms. Mmmmm!
Makes approximately 12 tuna cakes. These are also great the next night, quickly heated in a dry skillet.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quick & Easy Spinach Souffle Deluxe

Today I decided to make something special to go with our Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp that I had planned for dinner. I perused the Internet until I located just the right recipe (which included the only ingredients I had on hand, because I hate to go to the grocery store). Yup, if you look hard and long enough, you can find just about any recipe you want, to match the ingredients you have on hand. For this, I adore the Internet. I did change up a few things in order to make it mine, like adding the onion and a dash of cayenne. However, I have a hubby that watches..... food TV. He has become a complete "know it all" since he started watching Alton Brown. I'm not sure which one I'd rather get rid of first... Alton or the hubby!

Anyway, in my constant effort to to "Wow" the hubster, I peruse recipes. But I'm not a total tramp. At least I go with recipes that call for the only items I have on hand. Frankly, I consider myself a rather resourceful girl lady, thank you very much!

So.... I made the most divine Spinach Souffle that was absolutely the easiest recipe ever. I've tried to make it in the past but hubby always said it was a "nice try" or a "good effort". Tonight, he was blown away, and actually I was too. Since I basically FLUNKED home economics in high school, who woulda thunk I could tackle something as difficult as a souffle with so little effort? Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that it's all thanks to the Internet. (Oh - and Mrs. Richardson, if you're still alive, I just want to say that I'm not the complete idiot in the kitchen that you said I'd be... you WITCH!) I could out-cook, out-broil, and out-grill your boring ass any day of the week. So sorry... just shaking loose a bit of baggage there. The picture of my finished product is above & the recipe lies below. ENJOY....


1 tbsp. butter 
2 tsp. all-purpose flour 
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of Cayenne
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 c. cooked, chopped spinach, pressed dry
3 tbsp.
Parmesan cheese, grated


1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; blend in flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in salt and pepper.

2. Saute the onion and spinach until desired doneness and set aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, put it on a chopping board and press paper towels to the mix, until most of the moisture has been soaked up by the towels.

3. Beat the egg yolks. Gradually stir about one-fourth of the hot mixture into the beaten yolks, stirring well. Then stir the yolk mixture into the white sauce.

4. Add the spinach and cheese; stir well.

5.Beat the egg whites (at room temperature) until stiff, and carefully fold into the spinach mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 1 quart souffle dish.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until firm. Serve immediately. Serves 4 generously.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spinach Salad With Scorched Almonds, Raspberries, Feta And Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is the most scrumptious spinach salad and so easy to assemble that it will make you smile. We have this at our house at least every week and not just because we like it, but also because it's so healthy.

Spinach Salad With Scorched Almonds, Raspberries, Feta & Balsamic Vinaigrette

Large bag of baby spinach or a bundle of fresh organic
Large handful of shaved almonds
1 package of fresh raspberries
Feta cheese, crumbled
Vinaigrette Dressing (store bought or recipe below)

1. Toss a little pat of butter into a skillet and scorch the almonds over a medium high heat. When done to your taste, remove from heat and allow them to cool. I remove them from the pan & let them dry out on paper towels.
2. Put baby spinach in individual salad bowls and top with a handful of the feta cheese. Just do it to your taste. Some people like a lot, others like less.
3. Sprinkle a handful of raspberries over the salad.
4. Sprinkle scorched almonds over the top.
5. Pour desired amount of Vinaigrette over top and toss, or not.
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 c. salad oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, mustard and lemon juice. Then add the oil and adjust the seasoning.