Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Salsa….oh how the word brings to mind frills, clattering heels, and a fast beat! Oh, wait…that’s the dance. Okay, salsa the FOOD….mmmmm, my mouth is watering right now thinking of it. We’ve all had the store bought salsa: mush with a kick. To be fair, there are a couple fresh salsas out there, usually in the produce section, that truly are just like what you can make fresh at home. But the price is so prohibitive. Do you realize how inexpensive Roma tomatoes and hot peppers are? The other ingredients are pretty inexpensive too, so hey, why not? At least try it. Once you’ve made your own salsa, you won’t want to go back to the jars. Keep some on hand for emergencies (yes, needing salsa quick *is* an emergency!); but you’ll want the homemade too.

So, let’s get cooking!

After you’ve gathered and washed all your ingredients, core and dice the Roma tomatoes. This is the most tedious part, so I like to get it out of the way first.

When handling the jalapeño peppers and/or serranos, wear gloves. Trust me on this, do not use your bare hands. And whatever you do, DO NOT touch your eyes or face at all. When you are done, remove the gloves and wash your hands very well. Don’t ask why I’m warning you so well. Okay, I’ll give you a hint: it involves jalapeños, contacts, and a loud “AAAAAAUUUUG!” coming from my mouth.

Dice the onions and green peppers, and mince the jalapeños, serranos, garlic, and fresh cilantro.

Place all in a large mixing bowl and mix together.

Now for the limes. ♫ You put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up! ♫ Okay, wrong song. ;) Before cutting, roll the limes on the table or counter under your hand, applying some pressure. This will squeeze the juice from the cells inside the lime, and when you go to juice it, you’ll get more. Making the lime a little warmer also helps you get more juice from it. Squeeze the juice.

Add to the mixture of salsa vegetables and mix well.

Store in a jar or bowl overnight, letting the juices meld and sink in. You can eat it right away, but it may not be as hot as when you let it sit for a while. Store in the fridge, by the way. If it lasts that long!

Serve with tortilla chips, or use in omelets, tacos, fajitas, etc. Enjoy! ~TMMF


12 Roma tomatoes
1 Vidalia onion
1 green bell pepper
2-3 jalapeño peppers
2-3 Serrano peppers
2-3 lg. cloves garlic
½ c. fresh cilantro
4 Tbl. Fresh lime juice

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pizza Part 8: East Coast Seafood Pizza

I came up with this pizza recipe after thinking up another recipe, and thinking of the tastes and what would go good with it. Seeing how I had lots of ingredients for that first recipe, I decided to give it a whirl and see if this pizza worked. And boy did it ever! Very tasty and an interesting combination. The family loved it!

So, let’s get cooking!

First, you want to wash the asparagus and chop into 1” slices, approximately. Afterwards, place in a bowl with about 1” of water, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 4 minutes. Remove and sat aside.

Dice the Roma tomato somewhat smallish, and set aside.

Peel the garlic also, and set aside to use the garlic press, or mince it by hand.

For the shrimp and scallops, thaw out if needed, and shell the shrimp. I use the small from Wal-Mart, which only require thawing out and de-tailing. I save both scallop and shrimp liquid and freeze for use in bisques and sauces later on.

Now, time for the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and with a whisk, mix in the flour. Let the roux cook for a minute until bubbly.

Add the milk slowly, a little bit at a time, stirring with the whisk and using a rubber spatula to scrape down the roux from the sides of the saucepan. Keep stirring while you add all the milk, and stir frequently over medium heat until the cream sauce thickens sufficiently.

The way you find this out is to lift the whisk out of the pan and see if the sauce is dripping off, or clinging. Is it light and dripping off quickly? Or is it thick on the whisk, clinging to it, and dripping off slowly? You want it fairly thick.

Now, add the salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and the diced Roma tomato. Let cook on low for about 7 minutes, stirring as needed.

Spread the pizza dough on the greased pan. You can either buy prepared pizza dough at Walmart or make your own pizza dough. I do both, keeping bought dough in the freezer for nights when time is at a premium.

Spread the sauce on top evenly, and then the mozzarella cheese.

Take the asparagus and sprinkle on top.

Evenly spread the scallops and shrimp on top of the pizza.

Bake at 425° for about 18 minutes. Remove from oven if bottom of pizza is nicely browned and top is bubbly and slightly browned. This pizza is so worth the effort. Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

East Coast Seafood Pizza

1 pizza dough
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1 c milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ c parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Roma tomato
½ bunch tender asparagus spears
6 oz. frozen extra-small shrimp
8 oz. frozen bay scallops
2 c mozzarella

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This is a recipe I first made 25 years ago, babysitting for a family when my Megan was just an infant herself. One night the mom had left me instructions for it from some magazine and asked that I make it for the kids‘ supper. It was so delicious, I knew I had to recreate it at home. It was an instant hit with my family, and the kids squeal excitedly when they find out I’m making it for supper. Mind you, I don’t exactly measure much of anything, but the amounts I’ve listed are pretty accurate. ;)

The first thing you want to do is cook your chicken. If you’re using chicken breast, you can sauté it in a skillet or just boil it. I used chicken leg quarters and boiled them. When the chicken is cooked and cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces and set aside. Megan especially loves to help with this, removing the skin, fat, and bones, and then cutting the meat. Getting the kids involved with your cooking is a wonderful way to not only teach them cooking skills (and math!), but also build bonding through the shared work.

While the chicken is cooking, grate the cheddar cheese and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the cream of celery soup, milk, sour cream, seasoned salt, and black pepper.

Add the cheddar cheese and the French fried onions. I know I said 1 ½ cups of each, but I tend to be a little heavy handed and just may add a "teensy" bit more. ;)

Stir in the cut up chicken and the frozen broccoli. There’s no need to defrost the broccoli; just throw it in and mix.

Now, take the crescent rolls and unroll them onto a cutting board, not pulling apart. You can press them a little if you’d like to make it a little bigger. Cut into strips.

Pour the mixture into a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Layer the strips of crescent rolls on top. I just laid some going one way and then others on top going the other way, but if you want to do a real lattice top, have at it. ;)

Bake in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes, until broccoli is tender and casserole is bubbling. Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

2 chicken breasts or
   2 chicken leg quarters
   (about 2 c. worth)
1 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. sour cream
2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. French fried onions
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls

Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls….I done died and gone to Heaven! Sliver-thin steak, two kinds of cheeses, and soft, slightly sweet crescent rolls. Yuminy!! I saw this recipe online, and being the Philly cheesesteak lover that I am, I knew I had to try these. They were a hit with the entire family, and will definitely be made again! Without further ado, let’s get cooking!

You can use Steak-umms, which I’ve used plenty of times, but for this I only had a similar product that I’d gotten at Sam’s Club. It’s shaped into thicker ovals, and separates as it cooks. Whichever you choose to use, set the steak to cooking in a skillet with a little oil or some cooking spray.

While the meat is sautéing, slice the green peppers and sweet onions into lengths of about 1”. Sauté in the butter until tender. You’ll have to keep an eye on both the steak and the peppers and onions, stirring as necessary. You can do this! Think of how scrumptious this will be when it’s done!

If you’ve used Steak-Umms steak “sheets,” chop up the meat after it is done cooking. Add the peppers and onions to the cooked (and chopped or separated) steak, as well as the cream cheese.

Stir and cook over medium heat until cream cheese melts and blends in.

Next, take the Swiss cheese slices and cut them into four strips each.

Open the crescent rolls and separate into the individual rolls. Lay one on the cutting board or another flat surface, and press flat. Place a strip of Swiss cheese in the middle, and then about 2 Tbl. Of the steak/veggie/cream cheese mixture.

Roll up the crescent rolls, pinching sides as needed to seal the mixture in. Place on an un-greased cookie sheet, 1-2 inches apart.

Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Check after about 13 minutes just to make sure. When they are just slightly browned on top, remove from oven. Serve with a smile. Enjoy! ~TMMF

                                             Cheesesteak Crescent Rolls

                                             1-2 Tbl butter
                                             1 green bell pepper
                                             1 Vidalia onion
                                             12 oz. Steak-Umms or equivalent
                                             8 oz. cream cheese
                                             4 slices Swiss cheese
                                             2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls