What goes with Carne Asada?


Fresh Market sells beef kabobs ready to cook marinated in a delicious Carne Asada blend. The Impromptu cook picked some up on the fly and then, when it was time to cook, she asked herself the important question:

What goes with Carne Asada?

It’s a dish my husband orders when we dine out at Mexican restaurants, but personally I hadn’t ever tried it! So this impromptu meal came from me looking in the cupboard and refrigerator to see what we had on hand.

Wow, it turned out so amazing that I had to write it down. Mostly so I’ll remember it and can make it again. Because, as you know, I tend to forget to plan ahead and end up throwing things together at the last minute. If I have the recipe online, I can literally pull it up when I’m in the grocery store and be sure to get all the ingredients I’ll need. You can too! And, you’ll want to, because this was definitely a

When on KETO diet, just don’t eat the rice, chips or fruit. Everything else should be fill you up anyway.

Carne Asada lays aside rice blend and veggie blend, topped with honey mango and Cutie slices. Photo belongs to author, Joan T Warren.

INGREDIENTS (this fed three, with leftovers):

Main Ingredient:

3 kebobs of Carne Asada marinated beef (Fresh Market or use your own recipe)


Rice blend:

1 c white rice

1 small can dark red kidney beans, drained

1 small can Glory tomatoes, okra and corn blend, drained

1/2 small can diced green chiles, drained

Seasonings: Salt, pepper, allspice, garlic powder, Monterey Steak seasoning


Vegetable Stir Fry:

2 zucchini, peeled and chopped

1 yellow squash, peeled and chopped

1/2 bunch celery hearts, chopped

1 vidalia onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 large roasted red pepper, chopped (I used pre-cooked from a jar)

1/2 can chopped green chiles (rest of what not used in rice blend)


Salt, pepper, Monterey Steak Seasoning, garlic powder



Honey mango, Cutie mini mandarins, sour cream, Tostito chips, salsa


Cook rice in covered sauce pan (1 cup rice to 2 cups boiling water, with dash of olive oil and salt), putting the rice in when the water boils, and then turn it down to low and cover it. Set a timer for 15 minutes to check it. If there are holes in the rice layer (water gone), turn off the heat but leave it covered to finish cooking another 5 minutes off the heat.

While rice is cooking, chop all veggies as noted in ingredient list, then heat a wok with about 2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Pull the meat off the kebobs and sear them in the hot wok, over high heat on each side, about 3 minutes a side.

Use tongs to place the meat into a large overproof serving dish, then turn the wok’s heat down to medium-high.

To the wok with existing juices and seasoning from the meat still in it, add the onions, celery and green pepper and saute until golden. Then add remaining veggies (zucchini, squash, red pepper, green chiles) and stir-fry until soft. Add seasonings while stir-frying, to taste. You may have to add another tablespoon or two of oil during this process.

When the rice is cooked, add to it the can of kidney beans, tomato/okra blend and green chiles, along with the seasonings listed above, to taste. I used about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice–I didn’t measure, I just sprinkled about that much and stirred it in, to taste.

When all is done, remove the meat from the oven and push it to one side of the dish. Spoon in the rice mixture next to that, and then the vegetables.

Garnish with slices of honey mango and pieces of Cutie oranges.

Serve with sour cream, a simple salad with shredded Mexican cheddar blend cheeses, and perhaps some Tostitos with salsa.

Tell me what you think once you’ve tried it or tell me what you make to go with your Carne Asada main dish. I’d love to hear from you in comments below!

Happy Mealtime,

Joan T Warren

Thanks for reading! For life inspiration, visit my other blogs here:




Grand Slam Breakfast Casserole: Keto-friendly and Gluten-free!


The guys ask for more!

When two of the men in this family said this is their favorite breakfast casserole ever, I knew I’d hit a winner! I was aiming for tasty, gluten-free, and keto-friendly, but hit it out of the park!!

This hearty breakfast is ready in less than an hour, including prep-time. You can make it ahead of time, then microwave single servings 30 seconds for a quick breakfast.

Here’s how:

1. Step up to the plate!

Assemble all ingredients* while browning the crumbled sausage in a large frying pan.

Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish. You can use a rectangular or large square pan for this recipe.

2. Bang your bat on home plate and assume your swing position!

Layer pre-cooked/drained sausage crumbles to cover bottom of pan, then sprinkle shredded parmesan on this layer. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes; watch for crusty appearance to form. Remove to cool.

3. Take a few warm-up swings. . .

Meanwhile, steam broccoli (I use the microwave for this) and saute 1/2 cup of chopped onion, tomatoes and peppers in butter. (Yes, you can use the same frying pan). Chop the steamed broccoli into small chunks.

In a large bowl, mix eggs, cheeses, avocado ranch dressing, heavy whipping cream, and seasonings.

Now fold in sautéed trinity & broccoli. Pour mixture over cooled sausage and cheese “crust” and smooth it out.

3. Keep your eye on the ball and swing, batter, batter!

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, watching for when it is no longer “wet” in the center and starts to golden-brown on top. Remove and let cool at least 5 minutes.

4. Bring it home, and the fans go wild!

Cut into squares and serve with spatula. Servings come out as clean as if you’d used a carb-laden crust! Add a bread and fruit item for those who are so inclined and NOT on a KETO diet.


Variations: I’ve tried this with spinach instead of broccoli, and without the tomatoes and peppers—also yummy!

Let me know how you liked it, and how you varied this recipe!


1 lb crumbled, cooked and drained sausage (Jimmy Dean)

1/2 c Trinity mix (green peppers, onions and tomatoes; chopped)

1 t olive oil or butter

18 eggs (beaten)

8 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded

8 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 slices Gouda cheese, broken in small pieces

1 c Parmesan cheese, shredded (some in mix, most to cover sausage layer)

3-4 T Avocado Ranch dressing (Kraft)

1/2 c heavy whipping cream

1 t salt

1/2 t dried dill weed

1/2 t black pepper

1/2 t dried basil

1 t Parmesan Bread Dip (Publix bakery)

This recipe for 13×9 inch casserole (8-10 servings)

Peachy Pork and Peppers


Recently, on the way home from an amazing North Georgia mountain vacation, I stopped to pick up some Georgia peaches. They’re amazing when you get them right from the source: juicy, full of flavor, sweet and tart simultaneously. It was a sad day for me when the last two peaches shriveled a bit and didn’t invite me to devour them. Not one to waste good food, though, I took my paring knife and trimmed back the skin, only to find some beautiful fruit just below the surface.

“This would be great for a recipe,” I ever-so-cleverly thought to myself. I was right!

After a quick peek in the fridge to see what ingredients could be had without a trip to the store, I found the following:

4 Pork chops, center-cut loin

1 of each color peppers: red, yellow-orange and green

1 large Onion (Vidalia is what I had on hand)

Hmmm, sounds possible. I sashayed over to the pantry for a look at our dry goods:

Rice (Success Boil-in-Bag Jasmine Rice, to be exact)

2 cans green beans

Raw almond slivers

Part of a bag of Fresh Gourmet Garlic Pepper Crispy Onions (No other will be the same!)

Brown sugar


Well, this seems interesting. After a quick internet search for peaches and pork chops, I realized I didn’t exactly have everything for any of the recipes. Determined to not have to run to the store, I improvised.

What resulted not only made me wild with delight, but my adult step-daughter (who has always loved her mother’s cooking, not mine) couldn’t help herself:

“I’ve just gotta say this, Joan, this is the best meal you’ve ever made. This might even be my favorite thing ever! Gimme some more!” She went on, but I’ll stop there. Must remain humble.

Now, how can I ever beat that?

Here’s how I ended up making a winner of a dinner on the improv (see complete list of ingredients at end of this post):

In a bowl, I combined 1 chopped, slightly-overripe, peeled Georgia peach, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, ½ cup brown sugar, juice of one-half lemon, 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1-2 tsp Iodized Sea Salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and a few shakes of spices like coriander, ginger and turmeric.

I placed the pork chops in a glass baking dish and poured about 2/3rds of the marinade over them, reserving the rest in the refrigerator for later. I turned the chops over to be sure both sides were covered in marinade, then covered the bowl and refrigerated for a couple of hours.

When it was time to cook dinner, I put some water on to boil for my so-easy Jasmine rice. Then I chopped the onions and peppers in large chunks (about 1”) and sautéed them in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a fry pan. When softened and the onions turned gold, I added the other peach (peeled and chopped, remember, I had two left), then the reserve marinade from the refrigerator. I let this marinade cook down most of the way.

The water was boiling by now so I placed the rice bag in that pan. Too easy, right?

Next, I placed the onions and pepper mixture into a bowl, added more olive oil to the pan and heated it up. I removed the pork chops from their marinade (reserving the marinade) and placed them into the sizzling pan.

While they cooked I opened the two cans of green beans (fresh may have been better but this is what I had), drained them and put them in a ceramic baking dish. In a small sauté pan, I melted about 2 tablespoons of Irish butter and sautéed about a palm-full of slivered almonds just to heat, not burn. I folded this in to the green beans, along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a shake or two of dried onion flakes from the cupboard. Not finding any cream-of-anything soups in the pantry, I decided to skip a sauce, and just layered the fried onions (by the way, those Fresh Gourmet Garlic Pepper Crispy Onions are amazing and make all the difference) atop the beans. I put them in the oven turned to broil and set the timer for 5 minutes.

Returning to the pork chops, it was time to turn them. Depending on how thick they are, I estimated about 5 minutes a side, but check for temperature with a meat thermometer before deciding they’re ready. As they neared completion, I added the remaining marinade to simmer together heartily.

By now the rice was ready to drain. I laid the rice in a large shallow serving dish near the stove. The green bean casserole (checked regularly to be sure it wasn’t burning) got a stir and went on the table.

When the pork chops were ready, I added the onion, pepper and peach mixture back to the pan to heat them all back up together, then placed the pork chops on the rice and spooned the glorious sauce with the onions, peppers and peaches all over the pork chops and rice.

“Time to get your drinks, everyone!”

Served with pumpernickel bread and more of that Irish butter, well, you can imagine. Winner Dinner.

For a variation, try grilling the pork chops and cooking all the marinade with the onion, pepper and peach mixture.


Peachy Pork and Peppers

4 Pork chops, center-cut loin

1 of each color peppers: red, yellow-orange and green

1 large Onion (Vidalia, preferably)

2 chopped, slightly-overripe, peeled Georgia peaches, (separated)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

½ cup brown sugar

juice of one-half lemon

2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-2 tsp Iodized sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

¼-1/2 tsp coriander, ginger and turmeric

1 family-size bag of rice (Success Boil-in-Bag Jasmine Rice, to be exact)


Almond Green Bean Casserole with Garlic-Pepper Crispy Onions:

¼-1/2 bag Fresh Gourmet Garlic Pepper Crispy Onions

2 cans green beans, drained

¼ cup raw almond slivers

2 T butter

1 tsp dried onion flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Brunswick Stew — Quick and Smokey-Bones Style


The first cool, cloudy day of autumn stirs an irresistible urge for Brunswick Stew–not just any Brunswick Stew, but Smokey Bones’ Brunswick Stew.

The economic crash of the last decade (has it been that long?) took down our local Smokey Bones, though, so I’ve had to do my best to create an easy imitation. Perusing the web for same gave me some good ideas, but eventually I settled on my own, unique creation.

This (my impromptu recipe) is a quicker and easier version than those I found online, but pleases my picky palette perfectly! I’ve incorporated some ready-made items with brand names I found in my local Publix. I’d venture to guess it would be pretty tasty with your local brands too.

Impromptu Cuisine’s Brunswick Stew


1/2 Publix Mojo Rotisserie Chicken

1 package microwave pulled pork (Jack Daniels flavor)

3/4 lb ground beef

2 large Vidalia Onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 box Progresso Chicken Broth (4 cups)

1/4 cup Magic BBQ Seasoning

1 Tablespoon Chorro’s Hot Sauce (less if you’re wussy)

1/2 cup Heinz Ketchup

1 Tablespoon French’s Yellow Mustard

3-4 Tablespoons Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce

1-2 teaspoons Iodized Sea Salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 — 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 — 28 oz can diced tomatoes

2 — 14.5 oz cans or one cylindrical package frozen sweet creamed corn

1-2 Tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar (maybe more if your corn isn’t sweet)

"A very pleasant bouquet."

Get ready for “A very pleasant bouquet.”


I begin by browning the ground beef and sautéing onions while  pulling the chicken from the bones. I unashamedly admit to opening a beer and helping myself to a few tastes (tastes, that’s all!) of that amazing Mojo chicken skin and the end of the wing during this process. You can’t really put that in a stew; someone’s  got to eat it, right? Like the good Cherokee in my great-great grandmother, we honor the good spirit in all things by doing our best not to waste it! Too much, though, and it goes to my ‘waist’ instead.

Then I start opening cans. I feel a bit like a 60’s mom during this part, but it’s for a good cause, I tell myself. We’ll get to the point where everything is fresh and organic–maybe even home-grown–someday. Like after retirement.

By now the ground beef and onions should be ready to drain. Yes, get that grease outta there. There’s enough fat in the pre-packaged pulled pork to keep your body well-insulated for winter.

Now this is where the fun begins! Turn up the music and dance a bit while you just plunk every ingredient into a nice large stew-pot, stir it up and bring it to where it just starts to try to jump out of the pot. Then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and get on with whatever else you want to do with your evening! You have anywhere from an hour to two, depending on your schedule. Just stop by and stir every 15 or 20 minutes so it doesn’t get a dark, stinky crust on the bottom. This will ruin it all! Save the stew! Stir it up!

(Note to the attention-impaired: Start this stew in the morning in a crock pot. This helps save your stew!)

About a half an hour before dinner time, taste it and adjust seasonings if you feel you must. Then get started on the modified corn bread recipe I’ll be posting soon. Don’t forget your quick, fresh, organic salad prep on the side; you don’t want to skip your greens!



Recommended pairings: What else? Your favorite beer or near-beer.
Ginger ale for the totally abstinent.

Let me know what you thought of this one. My family LOVES it!

Warm and toasty,
Your impromptucuisine host,

P.S. For some mental, emotional and social nourishment, stop by my other blog at joantwarren.com


Wow, She Likes Sautéed Kale


Our picky eater finally tries sautéed kale!

Mimi's Magic Sautéed Kale

Mimi’s Magic Sautéed Kale

It starts as a typical picky eater night at the table. She surveys her plate, eats her bread, nibbles her carrot, drinks some water and asks for more bread.

“Sure, after you eat some of what’s on your plate.”

“But I don’t like it.”

A roasted chicken drumstick (chicken nuggets are sometimes acceptable, but this chicken on a stick, not so trusted), sautéed kale, carrots and bits of baked potato lay in their separate compartments on her pink plastic plate. Not exactly dinner heaven for this gal.

Now, technically, there’s no excuse for feeding a four year-old. I mean, holding her fork, spearing each bite, bringing it to her mouth. I used to cringe when I saw parents do this for a child so obviously capable of feeding themselves.  Understand, though, DAYS passed without the child eating anything green.  So, when she asks, “Will you please feed me, Mimi?,” I cave.

Her mother working evening shift, I seize the opportunity to work my magic. The magic never works as well when Mommy’s here. I suspect she doesn’t want her mother knowing she will eat green things. All Picky Eater usually needs to say is “I’m full, Mommy,” and Mommy clears the table. She even gives her a snack later–instead of sticking to her veggie-guns.

Okay, so it's fruit. You get the idea.

Okay, so it’s fruit. You get the idea.

Mimi, well, is a magic veggie-gun slinger, with master skills.

“Okay,” I say, “I want to sit close to you, anyway!”

Scooting our chairs close together, I slide in and enjoy the hug she offers. She loves being close. I sweetly (yet firmly) declare she will be trying at least a taste from each compartment. She has a choice which one first. To my surprise, she chooses kale!

Wielding my good magic wand (which, mysteriously, looks just like her pink Minnie Mouse fork), I spear a little piece of the superfood and bring it to her mouth. It opens! Ahhh, Mimi magic is on tonight.

To my delight, she likes it! She asks for more! She eats all the kale on her plate, and asks for more. She even accepts a bite of kale on top of a piece of chicken–six, maybe seven times–to get the chicken down.

I am beside myself with joy. Yeah, I know, I probably care too much about getting vegetables into this little princess. In my celebration, I decide: This one is definitely a blog recipe.

I dub thee, appropriately:

Mimi’s Magical Sautéed Kale

1 large bunch fresh chopped kale, spines removed

2 T olive oil

1 T Parmesan bread dip seasoning*

1/2 lemon

salt, to taste


In large skillet, heat oil. Add bread dip seasoning and stir, infusing the oil with this marvelous flavor.

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

Did I mention that I love this stuff?

*(I LOVE this stuff. If anyone tries to tell me there’s something unhealthy about this stuff, I swear I will put my fingers in my ears, sing aloud and, if they persist, shout, “I can’t hear you!,” repeatedly, until they go away.)

Add kale and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 – 10 minutes, until wilted and soft.

Squeeze lemon juice over kale, stir and cook another minute.

Serves up to four.


For another sort of fare, visit me at:


Photo credits:

Kale and Parmesan bread dip seasoning: me.

Veggie-gun slinger and Magic wand: depositphotos.com



The magic described herein is child-like, fun magic, in no way intended to be associated with evil, witchery, sorcery or green glowy scary stuff! 😉

Pumpkin Cupcake-Muffins Out-Riddle Grumpy Old Troll


As a baby, she devoured every food we offered, but as soon as she got a taste of sweet and salty, it was all over. Now she governs passage through those lips like Dora’s Grumpy Old Troll.

“If you want to cross my bridge, you have to solve my riddle.

In her case, though, there are three. Three riddles (challenges, that is) to solve, and I get over the bridge.

We’ll never know if it tastes good to her until we get past the troll.

One day I discovered she likes pumpkin muffins (I lied a little and called them cupcakes). Three mini “cupcakes” later, she asked for more. My OT brain started churning.

“Hmmm. . . pumpkin is a pretty healthy ingredient, and there are plenty of spices in there she likes, too. The color is forgiving, too. I bet I could hide a few veggies in there without her noticing.”

Food chaining is a practice I use regularly in my work as a pediatric occupational therapist. Now I also use my skills to help nourish my granddaughter. She’s a picky eater with mild hypo-sensitivity and a higher need for oral input than average. Mostly, though, she’s just a sweet and salty nut.

Every picky eater has their own, unique set of riddles. Here are her three riddles (challenges):

First, how does this mystery food sound?  Cupcake, not muffin. Yummy, not good for you.

Second, how does it smell? Cinnamon passes. Sweet passes.

Third, how does it look? Cake texture passes, with pumpkin color.

Equipped with a great idea, I came up with this:

Start with the already-accepted Quick Pumpkin Bread Mix

This pic nabbed from Walmart website below

This pic nabbed from Walmart website

(nutrition facts here: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pillsbury-Pumpkin-Quick-Bread-Muffin-Mix-14-Oz/10308265)

Instead of putting the eggs, milk and oil in a bowl, though, put them in a blender with:

1/2 can pumpkin (not the large can, silly)

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, or 1/4 cup spinach purée, if you’re into making purée for your Deceptively Delicious recipes)

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (or half of that, if purée)

1/2 cup added sugar (yes, I know, but I have to start somewhere and gradually decrease to healthy). At least I use organic, raw sugar.

1/2 to 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just threw some in there, sorry).

Blend. Now you will see it is green. Green does not satisfy the Troll’s requirements. I added red food coloring. I know, not so great, but we can work on color chaining too. Gradually.

Now, turn this into the bowl with the cake mix to blend with a spoon until the flour mixture is wet.

Spray your mini muffin tins or use liners. I usually use liners, they come with princesses or Dora, whatever pleases your Grumpy Old Troll. It makes them more believable as cupcakes.

Bake as directed, but shorten the time (about half) for mini muffins. Check with a toothpick–they will be heavier than regular muffins, but the toothpick will still come out pretty clean when they’re ready.

Now, the pièce de résistance, pour some confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and place it RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER! She loves that stuff, loves white powdered donut holes, so I took a muffin (Pumpkin Muffin, I accidentally said. Drat! Almost foiled it all! I changed it quick, “Pumpkin Muffin-CUPCAKE! Take the Pumpkin Muffin-Cupcake, and dip it in the white powder, look! It looks just like a donut!”

The result:

"You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!"

“You solved my riddle. Now you can cross over my bridge!”


Related Links:

My Pinterest page (FUNctional Kids), where I post finds for Problem and Picky Eaters:


WordPress weekly writing challenge:



For a different sort of fare, visit my other blog at http://joantwarren.com

Super Kale Salad – You’ve Gotta Try it to Know if You Like it


“One of these days, I’m going to teach you how to cook,” I offered, as playtime wound down and I begged off to go start dinner.

“Okay, Mimi, what can I do?” my four-year-old granddaughter quickly returned.

As she helped wash the kale, she surprised me as she spontaneously put a piece in her mouth to taste it. It didn’t make it past her palette, but I was impressed that she tried it. She’s a picky eater. Usually it takes rewards (AKA bribes), withholding her favored foods (AKA threats), and other such crazy antics to get her to try something new.

“Don’t put it back in the bowl if you don’t like it, put it in that side of the sink.” She promptly took me up on the suggestion and spit it into the sink. Following her lead, I tried a piece, too, straight from the colander.

(Ever done that?)

Together, we agreed kale tastes pretty nasty by itself.

“Well, it will taste much better once we get the dressing on it,” I reassured her, knowing full well she didn’t believe me.

She watched as I chopped it finely, asking “What else can I do, Mimi?”

“You can help me squeeze the lemons to make the dressing!”

She remembered squeezing lemons for lemonade last summer. What a memory, I marveled. I wondered if neural pruning would snip that memory as she passes through this critical phase of brain development.

“Be careful, now, hold it down so it doesn’t squirt in your eye.”

All proceeded nicely with this process until she dropped the lemon into the juice, and, wouldn’t you know it?  A drop of lemon juice splashed right in her eye. 

Several blood-curdling screams later, as we washed her eye and gave her a towel, she ran upstairs to change, apparently more mortified that her pirate outfit got wet than that her eye suffered a shockIng sting.

Assured she was fine, I peeled and diced the garlic, crushed it with salt using the end of tongs (the pestle is missing from our mortar and pestle), added the oil and lemon juice and tossed it into the diced kale.

Adjusting for taste with a few dashes of bread dip seasoning made for a simple but powerful transformation. I could have added more to this simple salad, but for tonight, it was enough.

Hubby reminded me at dinner that he likes my kale salad better than any we’ve had in restaurants. Hmmm, I guess I should post it on my recipe blog, then, thought I. It was a bit too late for a lovely photo, as we had almost devoured it by then. Here’s what was left:image

Unfortunately, as anticipated, granddaughter wouldn’t try it again, so she didn’t get to experience the transformation from Yucky Kale to Super Kale salad. Instead we heard the usual, “I don’t like that!,” and it was a little more difficult for me to try persuading her with the old “You don’t know if you like it unless you try it” response.

Kale really is a super food; you just have to find ways to bring out it’s best side so it gets past your inner picky eater. Here’s the recipe, in case you need it spelled out. Experiment with additives, changes, to suit your taste:

a bunch of dark green leafy kale (remove spines, dice, enough to fill a large salad bowl, there’s some shrinkage when dressing absorbs)

2 lemons (juice of)

4 cloves garlic

1 -2 tsp salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

bread dip seasoning


crush garlic with salt

add oil and lemon, stirring into the crushed garlic and salt blend

pour over kale, toss

season to taste with bread dip seasoning (a few shakes)

toss again and set aside

flavors improve as salad rests in dressing while dinner cooks

toss again just before serving


If you would like to read more on the amazing qualities of kale, here you go:


For a different sort of fare, see:


Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Rib Chops in Cabernet Demi Glace


Here’s one from Christmas 2013 that I have been meaning to post. I apologize for lack of photo, next time I make them I’ll add one!

This past Christmas, my sweetheart and I found ourselves having Christmas dinner alone. Did we feel lonely? Not particularly! We’ve been blessed with so many great family dinners, we chose instead to spend the evening enjoying each other’s company over a quiet dinner. This meal was enhanced by enjoying lamb rib chops that were the best we’d ever had. The amazing thing about them was that I made them, recipe and all! We both decided this is our new holiday specialty. Family, be prepared, you will taste them at some point in the future!

These are reminiscent of Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Chops in Cabernet Demi Glace that we had once at a Stonewood’s Restaurant, but could not find a recipe for, and they don’t seem to be on the menu anymore. They often serve their ribs with mint jelly, of which we are not big fans.


2.25 – 2.5 lb lamb ribs, meaty (6 ribs usually)

2 T minced garlic

2T fresh or 1 T dried rosemary

1/2 c olive oil

1/2 c cabernet sauvignon

1 T coarse sea salt

1/2 T (yes, tablespoon) coarse ground pepper

1/2 t dried thyme

2 T butter or margarine

1 c chicken or beef broth

1/4 c Half and Half

dash dried mint


Crush garlic and rosemary together with salt, pepper and thyme (mortar and pestle style)

mortar and pestle

-Add oil to make a paste

Cut ribs apart and trim extra fat (leave some for good flavor and texture)

Smother/rub the garlic/oil mixture onto chops, mainly on meat areas

Set aside to come to room temperature, about 45 minutes to an hour

Heat a small amount of oil to medium high in large skillet, add chops and cook about 5 minutes each side, turning to brown evenly and check the temperature

At 125 degrees F, remove chop to warm spot

Discard all but about 2 T oil mixture from pan

Add wine to the pan and cook, scraping pan, to reduce by one half

Add broth, dash of mint, and reduce by one half again (5-10 minutes)

Incorporate butter, then Half & Half, adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve rib chops with about 1 T Demi Glace atop each one

These are great with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Close enough to heaven for us. Enjoy!

For another sort of fare, visit my other blog at


Quickie Caribbean Chicken Soup

A Surprisingly Delicious Soup Created from Memories of Pollo Tropical’s Caribbean Chicken Soup
Hubby has a cold and really wanted a hearty chicken soup for dinner. It was late, we didn’t feel like driving 30 miles to Pollo Tropical for his favorite Caribbean Chicken Soup, so I searched the web for a recipe for same. Finding nothing, I decided to improvise. A quick trip to Publix and in about an hour we had a tasty soup, plenty for four very large bowls. The result: one happy hubby, one blogging wife, and now, you too, have the option to experience the pleasure!
1 Publix rotisserie chicken, Mojo flavor
1 small calabaza squash
1 green plantain, on the ripe side

Happy Plantain, about this ripe!

Happy Plantain, about this ripe!

1 medium sweet potato
1 small package frozen yuca
1 cup frozen sweet baby peas
1 cup frozen sweet and white corn
1/2 cup diced onions
1-2 tablespoons garlic (minced, fresh or jar)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
2 packets Badia Sazo’n Tropical (con culantro y achiote, with annatto and coriander)

This stuff

This stuff

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cartons chicken stock (7.6 oz each, College Inn, Bold Stock, Rotisserie Chicken flavor)
Juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 orange or tangerine
2-4 cups of water
Cut the calabaza squash into several large pieces and scoop out seeds and strings. Place skin side up on plate and microwave 5-8 minutes (this step makes it a lot easier to skin and cube)
Meanwhile, saute’ onions and garlic in oil in a large soup pot, until golden brown
Peel and cube plantain and sweet potato
Add these to the onion to saute’ briefly, stirring occasionally to prevent burning
Add the broth, frozen yuca, peas, corn and seasonings and bring to boil
Cut up the chicken breasts and leg meat, discarding skin (or, if you can’t resist, have a taste of the skin before you discard it)
Save the wings for tomorrow’s lunch
Add chicken pieces to the boiling mixture
Keep soup at a lightly rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
Remove the calabaza from microwave and using a knife and fork, carefully (it’s hot!) cut the flesh away from the skin, cubing it as you go and slipping the cubes into the soup
Remove the large chunks of yuca from the soup with a slotted spoon
With a fork and knife, slice these lengthwise into quarters, remove the center spine, then cube the yuca, and return it to the soup (you may not need all the yuca, you decide)
Let cook until the yuca cooks all the way through, tasting and adjusting seasonings/water amount as you wait, adding water as needed to keep enough fluid to stay soup instead of a stew
Ladle into soup bowls and serve with French or Cuban bread slices. Cures what ails ya.

For a different kind of fare, visit my other blog at


Happy Accident: Chicken Calamatacata



Sometimes my pantry gets stuck in a time warp. I’ll pull something out thinking I just bought it last month, or so, and, bam, it happens again: “Best if used by July 2012.” Yes, it’s nearly 2014.

More than once  (okay, so many times he doesn’t believe me any more when I say, yes, we have all we need in the pantry), my sweet and oh-so-patient honey has rushed to the store for something after asking me to check an expiration date, while I cook.

I started making Chicken Piccata tonight and realized too late that the jar of capers had expired. Their fuzzy white coats were my first hint the time warp had struck again. So, instead of asking hubby  to run to Publix (everything else was timed and ready), I took a chance. No, I didn’t serve the fuzzy capers, I took a chance and substituted sliced Calamata olives for the capers.

Wow, delicious! A happy accident, and a hit with all but the four-year-old picky eater!

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Piccata turned Chicken Calamatacata
2 Boneless chicken breasts, butterflied or thin-sliced.
Salt and pepper
2 T butter or margarine
2T olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced Calamata olives

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts, dredge in flour.
Heat to sizzling the butter and oil in large fry pan.
Pan-fry chicken breasts 3-5 minutes per side, browning them.
Remove them to dish.
Add lemon juice and broth, heat to boiling, scraping any brown from pan into the sauce. Cook until reduces by a third. Return chicken to pan, cook another 5 minutes.  Add olives and stir. Remove chicken to serving plate and pour sauce with olives over meat. Serve immediately.

We had them with sour cream and onion potatoes and broccoli, would be great with Calamata mashed potatoes too. I’ll share that recipe soon.

For a different kind of fare, visit my other blog at