Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Week of Salads

Happy Memorial Day.  The day set aside to remember all of those we have loved and have gone before us and all of those who have died for us serving our country.  No greater love is there than this.  Let us never forget.

Image result for memorial day

For many of us, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer.  We start working in our gardens, cleaning up our yards, breaking out the barbecue, opening up the pools.  I love this time of year when the weather is nice enough to spend time out of doors but not yet so hot that you can't breathe.  The bugs are not yet out in full force so you don't have to drench yourself in insect repellant to be able to enjoy a cocktail on the patio.  Our menus change from soups, roasts and stews to grilled meats, fresh veggies and salads.  It just makes me smile.

Image result for grilling clipart

I decided to take that train of thought and continue it throughout the week with a Weekly Menu filled with salads.  I hope you enjoy them. Please stop by each day for photos and recipes and join me on Monday at MPM so we can see what other's have on the menu this week.

Grilled Kielbasa and Cabbage Salad

50th Wedding Anniversary in the afternoon.
BBQ at Roz and Ron's in the evening

Meatless Monday
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chop House Salad

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Fish Friday
Spiced Tuna Salad

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lengua Tacos for Food n Flix

This month's Food n Flix  selection was The Goonies from 1985. This party is hosted by Heather of Girlichef and there is still time to join us.  You will find Heather's invitation post here.


I had never sat and watched the entire movie before.  I did see bits and parts of it because my kids were of an age to watch it when it came out even though it contains some "naughty words".

Since I am probably the only person in the world who had not seen this movie in the 80's, I will not bore you with a recap.  Suffice it to say it is a typical 80's genre movie with kids getting themselves into trouble and coming out heroes.  It was fun seeing all the actors in their younger days.

There were lots of food references in this movie.  Mostly by Chunk who was forever hungry but my favorite food reference scene is the one I shared with you at the top of the post when Mouth sasses off to Mama Fratelli and says he wants some Veal Scallopini and Fettuccine Alfredo.  Mama grabs him and a knife and says they only serve tongue.

I loved the look on the kids faces when she asked them if they liked tongue.  Had she asked me, I would have said "yes, please but make it cow's tongue".  Now, if you try to feed your family tongue they will probably have that same look of horror on their faces so.....Don't tell them.  Instead let them know you are eating Lengua, a wonderful delicacy, and unless you are Spanish or Mexican or they are fluent in the Spanish language, they won't have a clue and they will love it!

Don't let them see it like this.
Unless you have kids like my friend, Cam, who will be excited.
Make this on a day when they are in school or out playing.

I have fond memories of watching my Mom cook Beef Tongue.  I was fascinated as I watched her peel the skin off revealing beautiful pure meat.  Mom always sliced hers and we would make sandwiches with it.  I did slice some of mine up for sandwiches as well and then used the rest to make Mexican Sandwiches aka Tacos.  It is also good in soups or any braised dishes.  Tongue is all muscle so it needs to cook a long time to break it down and make it tender.

Cover the tongue with cold water, add your seasonings and aromatics.
I use salt, pepper, garlic, onions, celery and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least one hour per lb or longer.
The skin on the tongue will turn white and the visible flesh will be easily pierced with a fork.
Add water as needed to keep tongue submerged.
Alternately, you can place it all in a crockpot for 8 hrs.

When done cooking, remove from pot and immediately submerge into ice water.
The skin will easily pull off.  Trim off any hard nodules or roots on the bottom side of the tongue.
You can now slice or dice your meat to use in sandwiches or meals.

I sliced some to use in sandwiches.

And diced the rest to use in today's recipe.

Now that you have done all the rest in secret, you can make dinner in the open.
Saute up some onions and pepper in butter.
Add the diced meat, some cilantro and some garlic.
Add a 1/4 c. of Tomatilla Salsa and cook until warmed through.
Serve on warmed flour tortillas topped with additional salsa and avocados.

Lengua Tacos

1 beef tongue
half an onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, broken into thirds
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, smashed
large pinch of kosher salt
5 or 6 peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Cover with cold water and place over med high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour per pound or longer, covering with additional water as needed.  Alternately you can place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 8 hrs.

Remove tongue from cooking pot and plunge immediately into an ice bath. Peel off the skin and cut off any hard nodules or roots from the bottom of the tongue. Dice up the remaining meat.

For Tacos

Remaining half of onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, cored, seeded and minced
3 sweet peppers, cored, seeded and sliced (I used one each of yellow, orange and red)
2 T. butter
Diced meat from lengua
1 t. Garden Gourmet Cilantro (or 1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped)
1 t. Garden Gourmet Chunky Garlic (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/4  c. Tomatilla Salsa,store bought or make your own, plus more for serving
1 Avocado, sliced
1 pkg. Flour Tortillas

Saute onion and peppers in butter over med high heat in a large skillet until tender.  Add lengua, cilantro, garlic and salsa, Continue to cook until heated through.  While filling is heating warm tortillas on a griddle or in a microwave.  Place filling onto tortilla, fold in half and drizzle with additional salsa and top with avocado slices.  Print Recipe

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's a long and Rocky Road for #BundtBakers this month

Our host for this month's Bundt challenge is none other than Laura of Baking in Pyjamas.  Don't you just love that blog name?!!  Laura has challenged us all to create a Rocky Road Bundt.  You know the Rocky Road you usually find in fudge or ice cream?  That Rocky Road.  I was up for it because I love Rocky Road.....that mixture of chocolate, marshmallows, cherries and can you not love it.

I decided to go the easy route and just toss all my rocky road ingredients into a boxed cake mix, put it into a bundt pan and hope for the best.....

Well?  What do you think?  This is how it looked when I pulled it from the oven.  You can see the marshmallows peeking through.

Then I held my breath and turned it out onto the cooling rack.  Perfection!!

Keeping with the "It's beautiful outside and I don't want to spend this gorgeous day in the kitchen" theme, I continued with the easy peasy by opening up a jar each of marshmallow and hot fudge ice cream topping and poured them over the cake once it cooled.  Sprinkled the top with nuts, mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows and Voila....

The next test was cutting a slice and seeing if the ingredients all sank to the bottom (top) of the cake or if they stayed scattered througout.  Here is what I found..... Well, you can't win them all.  The marshmallows melted right into the cake along with the chocolate chips and the dried cherries are dark also so they don't stand out but...... The tastes were all there.  The cake was moist and delicous and presented beautifully.

What a great theme Laura.....THANKS!!

Rocky Road Bundt Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 c. water
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. miniature chocolate chips plus extra for garnish
1 c. miniature marshmallows plus extra for garnish
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/4 c. coarsley chopped pecans
1/4 c. marshmallow ice cream topping
1/4 c. hot fudge ice cream topping

In large bowl combine cake mix, eggs, water and oil with a mixer set on low speed until moistened and then on med speed for two minutes.  Stir in the chocolate chips, marshmallows and cherries. Pour into a Bundt pan that has been treated with baking spray and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the thickest part of the cake removes cleanly.

Cool in pan on baking rack for 10 minutes.  Invert the pan, releasing the cake to the rack and cool completely.  When cake is completely cooled transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the marshmallow and hot fudge toppings that have been heated in the microwave.  Sprinkle with nuts and additional chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Print Recipe


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page

Take a look at what we all baked up for you this month

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pulled Pork with Mango BBQ Sauce for the Crazy Ingredient Challenge


It's easy to join just email Dawn at

I love this Crazy Ingredient Challenge each month.  I always pretend like I am a contestant on Chopped and just opened the basket to learn what ingredients I must use in the dish I make.  This month our ingredients were Mango and Chipotle Peppers.  

I am glad that I'm not really on Chopped because the 30 minute timer would kill me especially this month since I decided to make a crock pot meal.  The recipe I am sharing is very loosely based on this one that I found on  From this recipe, I borrowed the idea of braising the mango pits with the pork and adding pureed mango to the bbq sauce.  The rest of the recipe was adapted to our tastes and what was available in my pantry.

While the pork cooked I made the BBQ sauce by first pureeing the mango, chiles and rum and letting it cook down a bit before adding the remaining ingredients.  When the pork was done cooking I removed it from the crock pot, discarded the mango pits and liquids, shredded the pork taking care to remove any bones and fat and then returned everything back to the crock to heat through.

I placed the pork on onion roll.  The mango sauce was sweet and spicy.  It was a perfect pulled pork sandwich.

I served the sandwich with some store bought coleslaw and some sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  It was a wonderful dinner and I was pleased with the results of this challenge.

Don't forget to check out what the other bloggers created out of Mangoes and Chipotle Chiles.

Pulled Pork with Mango BBQ Sauce

Pits and attached flesh from 2 Mangoes
4 lbs. Country Pork Ribs (or Pork Shoulder Roast)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t. dried chipotle chile pepper
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. water

For Sauce

1/2 t. dried chipotle chile pepper
Flesh from 2 mangoes, peeled
2 oz. Dark Rum
2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. worcestershire sauce
juice from 1/4 lemon
4 garlic cloves, minced

Season the pork with salt, pepper and chipotle chiles.  Place mango pits into the crockpot and lay the pork on top.  Pour in apple cider vinegar and water.  Cover and cook for 6-8 hrs.

While pork is cooking prepare the sauce by placing the mango, rum and chipotle chile into a food processor and pureeing until smooth.  Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently until mango sauce is reduced, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to cook for 5 or 10 minutes until flavors are melded.  Taste and season with salt, pepper and additional chile peppers if needed.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the pork and discard the cooking liquid and mango pits.  Shred the pork, using two forks, taking care to remove any fat, gristle and bones. Return the shredded pork to the crock pot.  Add the BBQ sauce and stir to combine.  Cook on low heat for an hour or longer.  Print Recipe

Here is the rest of the group's creations!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The First Farmer's Market Trip of the Year

I overslept this morning, not awakening until 8 am.  I was supposed to have food prepared for Frank's class and meet Amy at the Farmer's Market at 9.  I sent her a quick text letting her know I would be late.  I then went into the kitchen and started some cinnamon rolls using this recipe from Love and Confections.  While the dough was rising, I put together some brownies and got them in the oven.  I rolled out the cinnamon rolls and put them in the baking dish for a second rise and then threw together the chicken pot pie for Frank to bake at lunch time.

Ting and Melody decided to join us so we finally got out of the door at 10 AM.  While en route we called Amy and she and Doug met us at the market which is right around the corner from her house.
After we were done at the market, Amy and Doug took us out to lunch.  It turned out to be a very relaxing morning after all the early rushing around.

It is still early in the season here in Michigan but I was pleased with the bounty I got.  The fish guy was there so I got a nice Walleye Fillet.  And there was a nice couple who smoke their own meats so I got some Kielbasa to try.  The baker was on site with some beautiful, yummy looking goodies but I was good and only bought a baguette.  I was very excited to find some ramps.  I also picked up some spinach, asparagus, potatoes, rhubarb, beets and mushrooms.  It was a successful visit.

So, needless to say, my menu for tonight changed so that we could enjoy this nice fresh Walleye.  I decided to make the fish in foil packets that we didn't have last night.  I nestled the fish in a bed of ramp leaves and sauteed up the remaining ramps to sprinkle on top of the fish.

But first I turned that baguette into crostini and topped it with some feta cheese and beets that I wrapped in foil and roasted on the grill.  The potatoes were roasted on the grill as well and it was served with the fish along with a side of sauteed spinach, mushrooms and onions.

Instead of tossing the potatoes in olive oil as I usually do, today I tossed them in TLish Sweet Garlic Dressing.  I received this dressing as a sponsor gift for our #HotSummerEats event that is starting on June 1st.  I used this dressing not only on the potatoes but I also seasoned the beet salad and the fish with it.  It brought the entire meal together and seasoned everything perfectly.  I didn't even add salt and pepper to the potatoes or beet salad.

Fish in Foil II

1 bunch ramps, well cleaned
1 Walleye (Pickeral) fillet, about 1 lb. (or any white fish fillet)
1 lemon
1 T. TLish Sweet Garlic Dressing (or garlic dressing of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. butter

Prepare ramps by trimming of hairy bottoms and removing any loose skin.  Separate the leaves from the stalks.  Cut the stalks into 2" pieces and set aside.  

Place the ramp leaves onto a large piece of aluminum foil.  Lay the fish fillet on top of the ramp leaves and drizzle with fish with Sweet Garlic Dressing.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, top with lemon slices and squeeze remaining lemon over the fish fillet.  Seal the foil, making a packet.

Place the packet onto a hot grill and let cook for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.  While the fish is cooking, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over med high heat.  Add the ramp stems, season with salt and pepper and cook , stirring frequently until carmelized.

Remove packet from grill.  Slide the fish and ramps onto a serving platter.  Remove and dispose of lemons.  Top the fish with the carmelized ramps and serve.  Print Recipe

Crostini with Beet Salad

1 small baguette, cut into 1" slices
2 T. olive oil
2 beets
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 handful of baby arugula
2 T. TLish Sweet Garlic Dressing

Brush both sides of baguette slices with 2 T. olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350* oven for 15-20 minutes or until toasted.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Trim and scrub beets well.  Place onto a double layer of aluminum foil.  Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Seal packet and place packet on hot grill or in a hot oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until the beets are easily pierced with a fork.  Place beets in an ice water bath to cool, peel (the skins should slip right off) and dice.  Place the beets in a bowl with the feta and arugula.  Add the dressing and toss to cover.

Place the crostini onto a serving platter, top with beet salad and serve.  Print Recipe

Friday, May 15, 2015

My upcoming week plus the Weekly Menu

Tonight is Fish Friday and I was going to make Fish in Foil but we have decided to have a date night instead.  We are going to see the new Avengers movie and then out to dinner afterwards.  I am looking forward to it.

Tomorrow, Frank is holding a CPL class.  I am making Chicken Pot Pie for the students for lunch and I normally make a snack of some sort so I am putting on my thinking cap.

Sunday we are singing for Mass at 9:30 and then Frank sings again at 11:30 after which I am hoping to go downtown for flower day at Eastern Market.

Monday afternoon I have a 4 pm meeting at church so I will throw together a mac and cheese casserole to go into the oven when I get home.

Tuesday I have a late afternoon mammogram so have decided to make a crockpot meal.

Wednesday is Food Pantry and then I will be going straight from there to choir practice so we are all on our own for dinner.

Thursday, my sister is meeting me and Jackie at Zumba and then we will go see Mom before taking her out to lunch for her birthday which is tomorrow.

Friday night we are going our friend's band is playing at a local restaurant so we will meet up with them for dinner and then stay for a set or two.

That's my week.  Below you will find my weekly menu.  Please stop by each day for photos and recipes.  I will be linking up with MPM on Monday, stop by to find tons of menu ideas.

Grilled Pork Chops
Grilled Potato Planks

TBD- we may eat out while downtown

Meatless Monday
Macaroni and Cheese

Taco Tuesday- Food n Flix Meal
Lengua Tacos

Everyone is on their own

Meatball Subs
Homemade Chips

Out for dinner with friends

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

This week, like most week's in my life, is flying by!  It has been a good week though.  The puppies are growing and are pretty much house trained.  Well, Shadow is house trained.  Sherman is another story.  He is an adorable little pup but not the brightest crayon in the box.  We might not notice it so much if we didn't have Shadow to compare him with.

Mom was moved into her new room yesterday.  She now has a roommate who had been sharing that room with her husband until he passed away recently.  They moved Mom instead of her because she is partially blind and would have a more difficult time adjusting.  I stopped by today to see how she fared during the night.  The aide said that it took her until 10 pm to convince Mom that she was spending the night and had been moved to a new room but once in her room she was fine.  When I got there today they were having a singalong.  Mom handed me a sheet with the words and we sang for a while.  Ting and Melody went with me today and Melody danced as we all sang.  She was the hit of the show!!  It is so much fun seeing how animated all of the seniors get when a baby is in the house.

When we got home from moving Mom yesterday there were two boxes waiting on my doorstep.  The first box I opened was a late arrival from #BrunchWeek 2015 and contained a ton of wonderful, delicious, sweet Vidalia onions.  They felt badly about being late but the harvest happens when it happens.  I am still very excited about this gift.  We use a TON of onions in this household and Vidalia's are my preferred brand.

The second box contained some wonderful dressings from T Lish and are provided for those of us who are participating in #HotSummerEats.  Hot Summer Eats starts June 1 and goes all week long. You are not going to want to miss this event.  T Lish is just one of many sponsors who will ensure that this is an incredible party!

I am very anxious to start working on the recipes and sharing them with all of you.  Hope that your week is going as well as mine.