Real Mexican Fajitas


I love Mexican food, but it has to be authentic and not the Tex-Mex variety, which is okay on occasion, but when I have the time to cook, I want authenticity! Here’s one of those recipes that was given to me by a very special Mexican friend of mine and it’s been a big hit ever since.

4 pounds beef or chicken (all visible fat removed)


4 cups beef broth
¼ cup liquid smoke
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons garlic, whole cloves—crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoons salt
Juice of 3 whole lemons
10 large tortillas

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 multi-colored peppers, cut in strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, cut in quarters

Poke holes in your meat and set aside. In a large container, mix the marinade together, add the meat making sure the marinade covers it completely. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight, or longer. I usually marinate two nights because it allows the meat to absorb that yummy taste of the marinade.

In a separate skillet, heat the oil, add the peppers, onions and tomatoes, and sauté until crisp tender.  Store in a warm place for later.

Grill the meat to your liking, then slice thinly on diagonal angle and place on a serving tray with the pepper mixture on top and serve with the tortillas,  guacamole, and sour cream. And before you fold your tortilla, add a little marinade over top of the beef.

And here’s the best part, you can save the marinade and reuse it one more time, but you must use the same meat you used the first time. Keep it in the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator a day or two before to use for another tasty meal that you won’t want to end!

I serve with Mexican rice and Refried beans



Mediterranean Fish

Mediterreaean Fish

This dish is a family favorite in my house. I hope your family enjoys it as much.



2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1½ pounds of any firm white fish.
Cut the fish into five-ounce pieces. Fish shrinks one ounce during the cooking process.


2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (reserve oil for finishing touch)
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped.
½ cup capers ( I use Trader Joe’s because they’re plump and delicious)
8 ounces feta cheese – crumbled
Salt and pepper
2 lemons – (zest one lemon for topping)

Rinse the fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil – and spread the oil the length of the baking dish using a pastry brush. Cover each fillet with the prepared topping mix. Now, sprinkle with lemon zest and squeeze the juice of the lemon over top.

Drizzle the oil from the marinated artichoke hearts over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Test fish with a fork and when it’s no longer translucent, it’s done. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Serve with rice or couscous. Garnish with wedges of lemon and basil leaves.

Bon Appetit!


Fire-Roasted Mexican Meatloaf

I don’t know about you, but I love meatloaf! There, I said it!

I grew up eating the Lipton soup version. Mom used to follow their recipe except when it came to the sauce. She made her own version using Campbell’s Tomato soup and mixed in a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce. Oh yum! I remember coming home from school on those cold nights and that glorious smell hit me the minute I opened the door.  My mouth would salivate until we were called to dinner, and then I’d sit down and dig into the meatloaf and mashed potatoes smothered in yummy goodness.

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I thought I’d make something with a Mexican flare, and that I did. Easy, easy, easy, but very tasty. So here’s the recipe.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground chicken
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko
1 tsp salt
1 package McCormick Mild Seasoning Taco Mix
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (optional)
1 jar of Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

That’s it! And what a delicious flavor.

In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the salsa. Blend with your hands until the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Using an oven proof roasting dish, shape the mixture into a loaf IMG_0273 and smother with the tomato salsa. Save half the salsa sauce for the slices.

Below are the items I used. Please excuse the tape on the Panko box–we just moved. 😀


Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Servings 10



Swingin’ into Spring with the 126ers

Swingin’ into Spring w-126ers  Every month, three couples from our old neighborhood, and us, get together for dinner. Last night was our turn to host and I decided to go all out and put my chef’s toque on to prepare a seven–course dinner that would be memorable. From all accounts, it was indeed memorable!

Much planning goes into selecting the right dish for each course that will compliment one another, the shopping, the research to showcase the dish, then the prep work. For this menu, I started cooking on Tuesday and did as much as I could before the event on Saturday.

The Amuse Bouche or First Course was a toasted slice of French baguette with a smear of Gorgonzola and toasted almond slices then topped off with two thin slices of a merlot poached pear. (not pictured)

The Second Course was a Caesar Custard Salad with a Parmesan cracker, anchovy dressing and balsamic Glaze


Third Course was a Caramelized Scallop/Shrimp dish with a white wine brown butter sauce

scallop course

Fourth Course was a Boursin Butternut Squash Ravioli smothered in a Whiskey Sage Cream Sauce

butternut squash ravioli

The Fifth Course, or what I like to refer to as the Intermezzo – to cleanse the palate in preparation for the main course. The sorbet served: a Grapefruit and Mint


Sixth Course was the Beef Wellington with a smear of garlic mashed potatoes and a demi-glace. Hubby served a 1996 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve that was so smooth, you felt like you were gliding over ice.

beef wellington

And the Seventh and final course was a Double Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream Bomb, whipped cream sprinkled with Oreo mint cookie crumbs, chocolate coffee beans and an amaretto biscotti, all washed down with my favorite made by my husband: Irish Coffee.

chocolate bomb

We finished eating at 11 pm and although one might think you’d be absolutely stuffed by the time you stopped eating, the portion sizes are small so that you’re eating no more than if you’d had one complete meal.  I hope you have an opportunity to try a seven-course meal sometime. It’s a wonderful experience and one not easily forgotten.

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

I’m sorry there are no pictures in this post, but my phone is giving me fits and won’t let me mail them to upload, so . . . you’ll find all the pictures here:


1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
red pepper flakes, just a pinch (optional)
24 large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tail on – six per person
6 ounces dry white wine
1 teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon (lobster base)
1 whole lemon juiced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 pound pasta, cooked and drained, reserving 1 cup of pasta water for the above mixture.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, the garlic and the red pepper, if using. Sauté about 3-4 minutes, until they’re soft and aromatic.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add to the pan. When they turn pink, you can remove them and keep them warm.

Add the wine, lemon juice and lobster base bouillon to the pan and reduce by half. At this point, you can add the 1 cup of pasta water and stir. Return the shrimp to the pan, season with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into four deep serving bowls, divide the shrimp on top, then pour the juice over each serving. Drizzle a little olive oil over top, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

4 healthy servings

I serve this with a glass of wine,  garlic bread and salad.

Bon Appetit!

Chinese Fried Rice Makover


I love Chinese food, and if I can recreate a dish that tastes like theirs, then that’s a good day!

Today, I’ve recreated Chinese Fried Rice made with cauliflower, and I swear to you, you won’t even notice the difference.

Mix together and set aside:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2 tbls sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onions, minced
1 cup sweet potato, shredded or you can use carrots

2 eggs, beaten

16 oz package cauliflower rice
1 cup shredded lettuce

Using a wok, coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray. When pan is hot, add the garlic, onions and sweet potato. Saute until crisp tender. Remove from pan and place in a bowl until ready for use.

Next, pour the beaten eggs into the wok and allow to cook, using the spatula to cut into pieces. When cooked, remove and set aside.

Spraying the wok again, add the sweet potato mixture back into the pan,  add 16 oz riced cauliflower and shredded lettuce just until it is wilted.


Now, add the sauce and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Serve immediately.



crumb cakes 

My family loves coffee cake. Specifically New York style Crumb Cake, of course, but my from-scratch recipe has a ton of ingredients and I wanted to write. So this afternoon I was on a mission to try to duplicate the recipe using Duncan Hines cake batter instead, and came up with this recipe. I use the mini-muffin tins so they’re bite sized. I hope you enjoy them! Cupcakes

1 Duncan Hines Classic Butter Golden cake mix
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter melted
2 eggs – ( No, that was not an error. The box says 3 eggs, but I want these to be denser)
1/2 cup of whole milk

Streusel Topping
1 cup AP
1/3 cup brown sugar-packed tightly in measuring cup
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 Prepare crumb topping by placing all ingredients into a bowl and using a pastry cutter, continue until your crumbs are the size of peas. DESPITE what some recipes say, DO NOT use your fingers to make your crumbs because your hot little fingers melts the butter and it won’t form into crumbs. Instead, use a fork.

Set aside. Using a large bowl or a mixer, place dry ingredients into the well, add cinnamon and stir to combine. In a glass measuring cup, soften the butter in the microwave, add milk and eggs; blend until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and beat on high speed until smooth. Place cupcake papers into the mini tins. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter into each cup so it’s half full.

Now, here’s the trick to keep your crumbs from sinking into the batter. Bake the cakes for 5 minutes first, pull the muffin tin out of the oven, and using a spoon, cover each cake with the streusel crumbs.

Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over top.

Yields 30 mini-crumb cakes


The Best Ever Eggplant Parmesan

1 large, firm eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 cup egg whites (not beaten)
1 cup white flour
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Oil for frying
Prepared tomato sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Grated Parmesan cheese

Peel and slice the eggplant. Slices should be no more than 1/4″ thickness. Prepare two half-sheet pans, one to hold the slices after coated, one covered in paper towel to drain after frying.


Dip each slice in water, then coat it with the flour, dip it into the egg whites and then into the panko crumbs being sure to coat both sides completely.

Prepare a frying pan by coating with oil and heat. Use medium heat. Fry each slice until golden brown and place on the sheet pan until ready for use.


Coat the bottom of the baking dish with sauce and layer the dish with the slices. Ladle a small amount of sauce over top of the slices, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella. Continue the layers, just as you would lasagna until all have been used.

On the last coating of sauce, ladle enough to cover the top completely, sprinkle the two cheeses over top and you’re ready to bake.



Bake in a 350 degree oven until all the cheese has melted. Serve with a side dish of pasta.



Tiramisu – Now that’s Italian!

1 cup brewed expresso
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup Kahlua
4 dozen lady fingers (2 packages)
Brush this mixture over lady fingers

8 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1lb containers of Mascarpone cheese

2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Beat yolk with sugar until pale yellow. Doing this makes this dessert feather light. Gradually beat in mascarpone, add a little of the expresso mixture to batter.

 IMG_0889IMG_0892 (1)IMG_0891

Combine half of whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and blend.You’ll want this to be as thick as waffle batter.  


Layer a dish with lady fingers, spread ½ batter over top/ add another layer of lady fingers, remaining batter, top with whipped cream. Let set for 4 hrs in refrigerator.


Grind real coffee beans very fine, add a little cocoa and confectioners’ sugar to the mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle over top mixed before serving. I piped on more whipped cream before serving. Below is the finished product!




1 lbs dried beans soaked in cold water, overnight
1 lb bacon, cut into one inch pieces
1 large onion, cubed
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2  cups ketchup
2 tbls Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup molasses
2 tbls apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt

In the hustle-bustle world we live in today, using processed foods is quick and easy and it does fill your belly, but if you’ll take those extra few minutes to prepare something from scratch, the rewards are far greater. . . and heathier for you.

If you haven’t ever eaten baked beans made from scratch, you’re in for a real treat and I promise you, you won’t ever want to go back to the store bought version.

For those of you who suffer after eating beans, you’ll notice a significant difference after eating dried beans because soaking the beans before cooking eliminates most of those indigestible sugars that cause those stomach cramps. Try it and let me know.

Okay, let’s get cooking!

The rule of thumb for soaking beans is for every two cups of dried beans, use 10 cups of water. Just make sure they have plenty of water and soak overnight. You’ll be amazed at how the beans will swell and fill pot.


In the morning, drain the beans in a colander and rinse well! Place in a slow-cooker bowl. Set aside.

Now, cut the bacon into 1 inch chunks, chop the onions and mince the garlic. Place all of them in the same large pan frying until the fat has rendered from the bacon and onions are browned.


Empty the contents of the frying pan into the slow-cooker bowl, including the rendered fat.

In a separate bowl, mix the sauce ingredients and whisk to blend completely. Pour the contents over top of the mixture and stir until completely incorporated.


Cover the slow-cooker with the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours checking and turning occasionally.

baked beans

Serves 20 +