Category Archives: Apps

Crisper drawer quesadilla

Gorgeous colors and flavors in between the tortillas

So the garden of veggies in your fridge drawer is piling up and starting to fade?   I hear all too often complaints about good intentions gone awry with the contents of the crisper drawer.  I am here to help!  This quesadilla is an awesome way to have a hugely flavorful, simple meal while making sure you don’t waste any of those super expensive super foods in your fridge! Plus, if you have kids, they will love you for this one!  There is a little bit of chopping required, but I promise it is worth every second of your time!  This recipe is really just a guide to get you started–use the veggies that YOU love (or want to love :))!  ENJOY!

Crisper drawer quesadilla

Servings:  2

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • Veggies in your fridge.   I usually have some of the following on hand for this dish:  corn (frozen, but fresh in the summer), bell pepper, onion, tomato, cilantro, yellow squash, jalapeño pepper, garlic, argula, asparagus.  About 3 cups total.
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c shredded mexican cheese (leave out for vegan)
  • 2 t fresh salsa
  • splash of EVOO
  • sour cream (tofutti for vegans), avocado slices as garnish

Heat a medium size skillet over medium low heat.  Add the EVOO, cumin seeds and chipotle pepper flakes.  After about a minute add the garlic and corn and roast until the corn starts browning.  Clean and prep your veggies, add them to the skillet and cook until they are al dente.

While the veggies are cooking, warm up your George Foreman grill and give it a quick spray with PAM.

Once the veggies are cooked to the texture you desire it is time to build and cook your quesadilla.  Throw one tortilla on the grill, add a big scoop of the veggies, cover with cheese, put the top tortilla on, and close the GF lid.   Cook the quesadilla until it is a golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Garnish with a scoop of sour cream, sliced avocados, and chopped cilantro.  Serve with a side of your favorite salsa.

Quesadilla starting to brown in the GF

Now doesn’t that look good??

Mango and lime salsa

Mango and lime salsa

I had my girlfriends down last weekend to celebrate the April birthday’s in the bunch (3 of 5 of us!).  I wanted to have an easy and refreshing snack for them upon arrival.  I didn’t have time to run to town to pick up  the usual treats so I turned to what I had on hand.  I had picked up a flat of champagne mangos earlier in the week — which I usually eat 2 of daily while they are available.  This just happened to be a CRAZY week and I hadn’t eaten my usual quantity, which left me with about 10 perfectly ripe mangoes to eat SOON!  So I decided to pull out this recipe for mango salsa that I had been eyeing for some time.  I made my usual modifications and THIS is what ended up satisfying my girlfriends that fun Friday afternoon.  I served it with whole grain chips and loads of red wine to wash it down– INCREDIBLE!  Give this one a try, you won’t be sorry–not until the bowl is empty anyway!

Bon Appetit!

Mango and Lime Salsa

  • 6 ripe champagne mangoes (I buy mine at Sam’s, I have heard they Costco also carried them), chopped into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • large pinch of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-2 t cumin seed

Combine all ingredients.  Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour (if you have the patience), stirring often to let the flavors develop and penetrate the mango.

Smoky HOT Black Bean Dip

This is one of my all time favorite munchies!  So quick and easy to make and a DELICIOUS appetizer served with wheat thins or whole wheat tortilla chips.  Spread on sandwiches, tortillas, or just about anything you want to JAZZ up a bit!

WARNING:  Don’t forget the beano!!  🙂

Smoky HOT Black Bean Dip

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper gutted
  • 1-2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-2 t cumin seeds
  • 1-2 T chopped garlic
  • 1-2 T EVOO

Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until good consistency for how you intend to use it.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad/Salsa

This is a really delicious, simple and healthful salad that also makes a great salsa served with pita or tortilla chips.  I have made it several times for parties and I am consistently asked for the recipe after hearing rave reviews from the crowd!


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2-1 red onion, diced
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • Juice of 2-3 limes (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 t  (or more) ground cumin.  You may also use cumin seed.
  • 1/4 t ground coriander (optional)
  • dash of EVOO
  • pinch of crushed chipotle pepper flakes

Toss it all in a bowl and mix well.  It is best if it has a couple of hours to marinade before serving.   Throw in some diced avocado for a ‘meatier’ version!


Arugula and blueberry salad

My mother-in-law, Sandy, made this fantastic salad for dinner a short time ago.  It was so light, sweet and tasty I devoured two big bowls!  YUM!

I made it tonight for the first time and WOW was it delicious and super easy.

Arugula and blueberry salad

4 cups arugula leaves (cut into bite-sized pieces)

1/2-3/4 c blueberries (as much as you like :))

1/2-3/4 c candied walnuts or pecans*

1/4-1/2 c crumbled blue cheese

2 T Kraft Light Raspberry Vinagrette Dressing (to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in a covered bowl, shake well and serve.

*To candy the nuts:  Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.  Place nuts in a baking dish.  Cover with honey or agave nectar and sprinkle with Ground Chipotle Pepper (we use a LOT, but be careful this stuff is very hot!).  Bake for 7-10 minutes (until golden brown).  Be careful not to burn the nuts!  These hot candied nuts are awesome for snacking as well, so I always make extra! Leave out the blue cheese for a nice and flavorful vegan salad.  ENJOY!

Quick brined grilled jumbo shrimp

I dug up this old recipe for our Valentine’s celebration last night.  Oh, was it a great way to start the evening!  Fantastic with a nice glass of chardonnay or hefeweizen.


Quick brined grilled jumbo shrimp

Servings 4

12-16 jumbo shrimp (uncooked,  deveined)

5 c water

1/4 c kosher salt

1/8 c sugar

Water, salt, sugar in a large bowl.  Add shrimp.  If your shrimp is frozen, just thaw them in this solution.  Brine for up to 4 hours (I do ours for about one hour).  Take the shrimp out of the water.  You can take the shell off or leave it on to grill–just as you like.  We just use our good old george forman to grill these babies!  Grill about 2-3 minutes/side–until the shrimp is lightly pink and grilled to your satisfaction.  Do not overcook or they will be rubbery!

While the shrimp is in the brine, make the dipping sauce.

Spicy citrus dipping sauce

1/8 c sugar

1/4 c fresh lime juice

1-2 T orange juice

4 thai chilies

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 t kosher salt

top with chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl add all ingredients.  Let marinade while the shrimp is brining.

To serve:  Divide into small ramekins (so everyone has their own dipping sauce) and place on a small plate with the shrimp.

Roasted beet and arugula salad

My girlfriend Jolynda was in KC a couple of weeks ago and ate at Michael Smith’s Restaurant. He has several restauants in KC, but this is his flagship and most critically acclaimed.  My blackberry was on fire the following day with calls from Jo!  She had to tell me all about her UNBELIEVABLE dinner.  The one dinner item that she couldn’t get over was the salad.  She claims that it is the BEST salad that she has ever eaten…and if you knew my friend Jo, you would know that this is a HUGE statement (she is an AMAZING and creative cook herself).  So of course, I put Michael Smith’s on my dining radar for my next trip up to KC.  In the meantime, I went to his website to learn a little more about this salad.  I was amazed to learn how unpretentious the ingredients were and how simple it seemed to be.   I made my version of this salad for my hubby a few days later.  I still can’t believe how much he loves it.  I have made it many times and yet AGAIN for our valentines celebration dinner last night.  As he was nearly licking the remaining bits from MY salad plate he said “I could eat this salad EVERYDAY and not get tired of it…”!  Almost daily he asks me if I have put this recipe on the blog yet.  This of course makes me giggle…all of my readers and fans are surely wondering the same thing!!  So here it is…BEST salad EVER!

Oh, I have yet to eat dinner at Michael Smith’s flagship, but I have been to his tapas place (Extra Virgin) next door a couple of times.  OH BABY is it a worth the $$!  I can’t say enough about his smoked oyster mushrooms and the yellowtail ceviche.  On top of that, the wine list is Top Notch.  WOWZA!!  If you are in the neighborhood, it is a must!

Two of my favorite colors--red and green!

Roasted beet and arugula salad

Servings 2-3

2-3 big handfuls of argula (or fresh spring mix)

1 roasted beet cubed

2-3 T red onion diced

1/8 c toasted pine nuts or hot candied pecans

1/8 c crumbled blue cheese (optional)

1/8-1/4 c dried cranberries

freshly ground black pepper

chipotle pepper flakes

1/2 T evoo

1-2 T Basalmic Vinegar

Put all ingredients into a big salad bowl with a lid.  Shake it like crazy.  Serve!

Bon Appetit!