Category Archives: cooking

Meatball Bahn Mi

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I love Banh Mi sandwiches. They are a fabulous mix of flavor and texture. All of the fresh veggies and herbs make me think of spring. And with all of the cold weather, I could really use some spring. When I ran across this recipe on I knew I had to make it.

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1/2 lb lean ground turkey
3 uncooked brauts (casings removed)
1/4 cup chopped basil
4 cloves of garlic
3 green onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sriracha (hot chili garlic sauce) – I had to tame down the heat to get my kid to eat it
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together. Heat a large oven proof skillet over medium heat (I used cast iron). I used two spoons to drop 1-2 inch meat balls into the hot skillet. Brown. When all meatballs have been browned place the skillet in a 350 degree oven until cooked through (like 15-20 mins). Just check your meatballs and take them out when they are done.

Hot chili mayo:
1/2 cup mayo
2 green onions finely chopped
sriracha to taste 1/2-1 tablespoon
Stir everything together. Easy.

Pickled veggies:
2 cups carrots grated
1 cup broccoli slaw (you are supposed to use daikon but my grocery store didn’t have it)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix everything together in a bowl and let set for about an hour.

To put together the sandwiches, cut a large piece of french bread into sandwich sized pieces. Smear with the mayo. Add the meatballs, lettuce, the veggie pickle, fresh tomato and fresh cilantro and thinly sliced pieces of jalapeno.


Purple sweet potatoes


If you live in the southeast, I would definitely look around for these wonderful, NC grown, Saura Pride Sweet Potatoes sweet potatoes. I got to sample one today and flavor was sweeter and more vibrant then a normal sweet potato. Plus it has more anti-oxidants and vitamins then a regular sweet potato. And as a bonus it was purple. So there is lots of opportunity for wonderful purple food.

Blueberry oatmeal


This year I wanted a healthy start to thanksgiving. So this was our breakfast.

I added ground flaxseed to the oatmeal. I’ve never cooked with ground flaxseed before. It has a nutty flavor and smells almost like peanut butter. It did change the flavor of the oatmeal, but it wasn’t bad and it added all of those omega3 fats.

I also added some frozen blueberries to it. These were blueberries that I frozen myself in the summer (when blueberries were in season).

Healthy and delicious.

twinkie sushi


Have your kids been extra good and deserve a special treat? Or do you need to bribe them to do something unpleasant (like clean their bathroom)? Either way this is a fun treat for them to enjoy.

Simply take a package of Twinkies and a package of fruit by the foot. Slice the twinkies so they are the same width as the fruit by the foot. Wrap each piece of twinkie with a piece of fruit by the foot (so it looks like the nori). I also made a dipping sauce using chocolate syrup.

Fast and fun.

Raspberries and sherry

Keeping with the fresh and light theme, I decide to make ice cream sundaes with raspberries and sherry. Sherry is WONDERFUL on ice cream. I know it sounds strange, but trust me on this. It is a perfect complement.

Take your washed and drained raspberries and place them in a bowl. Pour some sherry on them and let them sit for 30min or an hour. We played clue while we were waiting (Ms. White, with the bat in the dining room).

Then we just scooped up some vanilla ice cream, topped with a little chocolate syrup and the raspberries and sherry.

Fresh spring pasta

After the snow last week, it has been a wonderful warm couple of days. Whenever we get spring weather I always want to switch over to light fresh recipes. This is so simple and wonderful.

Mix 4 roma tomatoes (diced) with some chopped fresh basil.
Stir in a little good quality olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, a little salt and pepper.

Let sit at room temperature.

Cook your pasta. I used whole wheat fettuccini. Drain the pasta and mix with the tomato mixture.

Top with a little shredded cheese.

This is so fast and delicious. I’m looking forward to the summer when I will have my own tomatoes and basil growing outside and I can have this any evening for a quick meal.

Shepherd’s pie … kind of

So we had a jar (actually a box) of trader joes gravy left over from thanksgiving. Seeing how it is now 3 months after thanksgiving I decided that I needed to use it up. We also had a package of instant mashed potatoes. You must know that I hate (HATE) instant mashed potatoes. I think they taste like paste. I did not buy the instant mashed potatoes..someone else in the house did.

At any rate, I was stuck with these two items and I needed to use them, so I decided to make a shepherds pie. But since the gravy was turkey gravy, it wouldn’t be real shepherds pie. It would be made with chicken.

So it was a weeknight and I figured that I could just throw together this meal since the gravy and the potatoes were already done. This was a mistake on my part and this turned into a much bigger adventure.

So I had some chicken already cooked and in the refrigerator. I boiled some carrots until tender. I “cooked” the instant mashed potatoes. All I needed to do was add the gravy, put everything together and throw it in the oven. BUT when I opened the gravy I thought it smelled…funny. Not rancid, rancid would have been better. You know where you stand with rancid. But funny…that is a whole different story. I stood there in the kitchen for 10 minutes smelling the gravy and trying to decide if it was ok or not. I finally got up the nerve to taste it. Still not rancid, but definately not right. Metallic is the word that comes to mind. So I decided the gravy was no good, and I hoped the little bit that I tasted wouldn’t kill me.

Now I was left with everything ready to go for shepherds pie, except I had no gravy. I was too close to being done with dinner to let that stop me though. I had no choice but to make the gravy from scratch. The good thing is, it’s crazy easy.

Start with a roux; butter and flour in a sauce pan.

Cook the roux until golden brown, stirring constantly.

Add two cups of hot chicken stock. Wisk until smooth.

Add salt, pepper and garlic powder (not garlic salt)

At this point my gravy was a bit thin, so I thickened it with some corn starch that had been mixed with some water.

The final ingredient was a splash of milk.

That’s it for the gravy. So I added the carrots, chicken and some frozen peas to the gravy and mixed.

I poured that into a large oven proof dish and then topped with the mashed potatoes.

When you make shepherds pie, if you don’t get a *tight* seal with your mashed potatoes over the entire dish, gravy will shoot up out of the dish like a volcano and make a mess. That is what happened to me. Ok, maybe it isn’t like a volcano, but gravy certainly went everywhere.

So I didn’t get a nice shot of the finished product with a beautiful golden crust (cause it was covered in gravy). But here is the finished product plated up.

We had ours with a nice green salad and some mac-n-cheese (because I didn’t think shepherd’s pie was starchy enough on its own).

Anyway, it was good. And Jason was just happy to have mashed potatoes and gravy…even if the mashed potatoes were instant.

Beer Bread

It has been 12 or 13 years since I made beer bread. I used to make it fairly often…I don’t know why I stopped. Beer bread is delicious and it is SOOOOO easy to make.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1T baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 beer

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

My husband’s favorite beer is bass… so that is what I used tonight. Add the beer to the dry ingredients and mix.

Pour the mixed batter into a greased loaf pan. bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.


This isn’t a traditional gumbo…it’s not. I don’t like seafood or okra. But this is a lovely version and it is quite good.

3/4-1lb chicken (diced)
1 package smoked sausage (diced)
1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
1 red pepper diced
1 can diced tomatoes
32oz low sodium chicken stock
1 can beer
salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, cayanne pepper, jalapeno pepper

This is super easy. brown the chicken in a large stock pot. Add the sausage, onions, peppers and garlic. Saute with olive oil until everything starts to get golden brown.

Add everything else. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for an hour or two. Serve with rice.

Pasta Bake

We had a little tiny bit of left over pasta sauce…like less then a cup. It wasn’t enough for us to have another night of pasta with sauce on it. So I started thinking and decided to make a nice pasta bake. It was easy and it used the little sauce that was left and turned it into something different and delightful.

Here’s how.

Cook your pasta. I used mini whole wheat bow tie pasta. And drain well.

Place the pasta in an oven proof contain (preheat the oven to 350)

In a saucepan, put a tablespoon or so of butter over medium heat. Once it has melted add about a tablespoon of flour. (this makes a roux). Cook your roux until golden brown. You must stir constantly or it will burn…so stir stir stir.

Once your roux is ready, get a whisk and some 2% milk. Add a little bit of milk to the roux and whisk until you get a thick paste. The roux will get thicker and more pastelike when you first add the milk. Don’t worry that is what it is supposed to do. Once that milk is blended add more milk (I probably used 1.5 cups of milk total).

Then I took a couple of handfuls of grated 2% cheese. I used a mexican blend but other cheeses would be fine also. Add that to your milk/roux sauce and whisk until the cheese is melted. Finish with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Top with the left pasta sauce.

Bake for 30mins or so.

Tasty and a good use of leftover pasta sauce.