Crock Pot Steak Fajitas

Growing up in Panama City my family would go to a Mexican restaurant to eat dinner every Thursday night way out in Callaway. Well, at the time it was way out. The restaurant’s name? Sombrero Mexican Food Restaurant! And it’s still there on Tyndall Parkway. My, how I loved going there. Oddly, I didn’t have a love for Mexican food at the time. Again, I was a child, a tween, at best. I remember ordering the kid’s fried chicken or the kid’s spaghetti. Yes, indeed, I did. I think I finally progressed to a taco. Imagine that! I never looked back!

We’d love having dinner and then we’d visit the many goats living on property behind the restaurant. Funny goats of all shapes and sizes that would climb up on makeshift log bridges and knock each other off. Quite comical! It, too, is still there. If you’re in the area, you should stop by.

If you happen to visit, rest assured I have no idea how the food is today. I just read some terrible reviews on Google from a few years back. It is a family owned restaurant that has been there for 50+ years. More recent reviews are favorable.

You would never know my love for Mexican food started out like that as I absolutely LOVE it today. Did I say I love Mexican food? I do and I love cooking it at home. It is usually inexpensive, fast, and very filling. And I usually have leftovers for days on end. Which I also adore. And in today’s economy, stretching our grocery dollars is what it’s all about plus you save time in the kitchen. I also like the idea of not slaving in the kitchen every night, even though cooking is one of my passions.

This recipe is definitely a win-win for everyone!

Bon appétit!

Crock Pot Steak Fajitas
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs Boneless Sirloin, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 -2 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 green Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 -8 Flour Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Lettuce (optional)
  • Chopped Tomato (optional)
  • Chopped Onion (optional)
Instructions
  1. Brown the steak in oil.
  2. Place the steak and drippings into the crock pot.
  3. Add lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, and chili powder.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2½ to 3 hours, or until meat is tender.
  6. Add green pepper and onion; cover and cook for 1 hour more.
  7. Warm the tortillas.
  8. Spoon beef and veggies down the center of the tortillas.
  9. Top each with cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes if desired.
  10. Fold in the sides of the tortillas and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 294 Fat: 11.9g Saturated fat: 2.8g Carbohydrates: 18.9g Sugar: 2g Sodium: 254.7mg Fiber: 1.7g Protein: 26.o9g Cholesterol: 71.4mg

Prickly Pear Margarita

My first introduction to this tasty cocktail was at a local Mexican restaurant. Myself and a few friends gathered to put a conclusion to a 5-month+ effort looking for a lost Greyhound. Who, unfortunately, we never found. It surely wasn’t for the lack of trying.

We were out there every weekend pounding the pavement, talking to locals in area businesses, going door to door talking to people in neighborhoods, passing out flyers, tromping through the woods looking, oh, and we can’t forget the poison ivy we got, the time one resident called the law on us (yes and luckily they sent a K-9 officer who was so totally “with” us and what we were doing), the time another homeowner threatened to shoot us, the time another homeowner came to her door with a machete in her hand (and it was in the air ready to strike, I might add), and there were countless other incidences I’m sure I have processed and put into the back nether-regions of my brain hoping to never recall again.

But we learned a lot about tracking a Greyhound and we learned a lot about ourselves. Plus we made some good friends and fortified friendships with existing friends. And, I learned of this wonderful cocktail. So, in the end, all our efforts weren’t totally in vain, wouldn’t you agree?

Try this one today, it’s really, really good!! And pray you never have to search for a lost Greyhound – ever!

Live it up and drink it down!

Prickly Pear Margaritas
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 large Prickly Pears
  • 1½ cups Water
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 ounces Tequila Blanco
  • ½-ounce Triple Sec
  • 1½ ounces fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 ounces Prickly Pear Syrup
  • crystal sugar, for garnishing the glass
  • lime juice for garnishing the glass
Instructions
  1. To make the prickly pear syrup, first slice through the prickly pear skin and remove the fruit. Roughly chop.
  2. Place the fruit in a small saucepan with water and sugar over medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is softened and broken down. This is why I used more water than a regular simple syrup recipe. I didn’t want it to get too thick while simmering to soften the fruit.
  3. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the prickly pear mixture into the sieve. Use the back of a spoon to push the softened fruit through the sieve, leaving behind the large seeds. This recipe yields about 2 cups of prickly pear syrup.
  4. Now, to make the margarita! Combine the tequila, triple sec, lime juice and pear syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to incorporate.
  5. Dip rim of glass in lime juice and then into the sugar crystals to coat the rim. Fill glass halfway with ice. Then pour margarita into glass. Garnish with lime wheel and serve.
Notes
If you are unable to find prickly pears at your local farmers market or grocery, check the liquor store for a really good prickly pear syrup that is already made for you! Obviously homemade and fresh is better but sometimes that isn't an option!

 

Apple Fritters

Don’t those look just awesome?!! Let me tell you a secret – they were!! It’s funny, I’ve baked, I’ve cooked, and I’ve made made many dishes, desserts, sides, etc. You name it, I’ve done it! Except for the ever elusive Apple Fritter. At least until a few months back when I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go.

Oh my, I don’t know what took me so long! They were just wonderful – light and airy, flavorful with just the right amount of apples and then to top it off, that wonderful sugar/cinnamon coating. The only thing I might do differently next time is add a bit of cinnamon to the dough and then use a confectioners’ sugar glaze on top instead of the sugar/cinnamon coating.

One thing to remember, these are best devoured the morning you make them. They tend to get a bit soggy after they sit around overnight. You could crisp them back up in the oven, I suppose, but more than likely you won’t have any left over at your house.

Bon appétit!

Apple Fritters
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beginnings
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 quart Vegetable oil; for frying
  • 1½ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs; beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups Apples; peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 339 Fat: 28.9g Saturated fat: 2.5g Unsaturated fat: 17.9g Trans fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 18.8g Sugar: 18.1g Sodium: 167.2mg Fiber: .7g Protein: 2.3g Cholesterol: 36.2mg

 

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Squares

This scrumptious concoction truly needs no introduction. I mean, honestly, what isn’t appealing about chocolate, peanuts and vanilla ice cream? It’s definitely a win-win dessert and a crowd pleaser. And it’s kid friendly to boot! And it’s frozen! During the hot summer months, who doesn’t want something frozen to cool the taste buds?

The only thing I might do differently next time? I might decrease the amount of vanilla ice cream to half of a half gallon, freeze that layer, and then add a similar size layer of strawberry ice cream! Now, wouldn’t that be the bomb! A Neapolitan peanut square!

And I have just the Strawberry Ice Cream recipe forthcoming! It would be perfect but even store bought would do. It’s funny, I’ve made this recipe a few times (and it is always the best, as is) and I just thought of adding a Strawberry Ice Cream layer the other day. Wonders never cease, huh?

Bon appétit!

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Squares
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups peanuts, dry-roasted
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream; slightly softened
Instructions
  1. Melt ¼ cup of the butter. Mix into wafer crumbs and press evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Chill crust.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the remaining butter (1/2 cup) with powdered sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then beat in melted chocolate until well blended. Fold in 1 cup chopped peanuts. Spread evenly over chilled crust. Freeze until chocolate mixture is firm (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Spread softened ice cream evenly over top. Sprinkle with remaining chopped peanuts. Cover and freeze and 12 hours.
  4. Let stand at room temperature about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting to serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 405 Fat: 21.3g Saturated fat: 8.3g Unsaturated fat: 7.8g Trans fat: 2.5g Carbohydrates: 51g Sugar: 49.6g Sodium: 228mg Fiber: 1.4g Protein: 5.3g Cholesterol: 65.5mg

 

 

Barbecue Pork Sandwiches

These days I am cooking less, simply due to economics. Peanut butter and jelly are my friend! But when I do cook, it’s usually something that I can use for meals for days on end. When you’re single, you get used to this sort of eating, trust me. And to stretch things even further, I freeze ALOT!

So for the weekend, I decided to make Barbecue Pork Sandwiches! And as a side, the ever popular and delicious Champagne Cole Slaw. A perfect compliment to the spicy barbecue pork sandwiches. Your mouth will appreciate the coolness of the slaw flavors!

To start, I used my Crock Pot Beer Chicken recipe using two pork tenderloins instead of the chicken. I love both but for some reason I wanted shredded pork for my sandwiches. And the beauty of this recipe is you start it in the morning and you can have dinner ready in minutes that evening.

When I was a kid, my family would take our boat on the weekends to Shell Island (in Panama City, Florida) and often times if Mama and Daddy didn’t want to grill, we’d swing by a wonderful barbecue restaurant (at the time) called Old South Barbecue, located on Highway 98 in St. Andrews. It’s no longer there, of course, but back in the day it was a mainstay. Funny, I don’t remember ever going there to eat “inside” and quite frankly I don’t even know if they had a dining room. I do remember we’d pick up chopped pork and barbecue sauce “to go” that we’d use to make sandwiches later at the island. Mom would have the buns and we’d have chips or slaw or something else for a side. The pork sandwiches were the star of the lunch though so everything else is a very vague memory! But, oh those sandwiches. The best in all the land!

I guess I was feeling a bit melancholy when I decided to make my version. I did shred my pork instead of chopping it but the end result is the same – most delicious and if I say so myself, the best in all the land! And I have leftovers for days so no need to worry about dinner for some time now! Oh, I can’t forget the Barbecue sauce! This recipe is so good I could probably take a straw and drink it straight from the pan! The combination of the pork, flavored perfectly and the barbecue sauce which kicks everything up a notch is just perfect!

I can’t wait to have it all again this evening!

Bon appétit!

Need a Quickie?

Get your mind out of the gutter!! I’m talking about a quick dinner! If so, this recipe is for you. Perfect for a quick, healthy weeknight dinner. It’s light, no creamy sauce, just chicken broth and some Parmesan cheese and garlic. But it’s tasty and did I say quick?

You can add other ingredients to suite your tastes ie cooked mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes or even canned artichoke hearts. Or whatever floats your boat.

Regardless if you use the recipe as written or add other ingredients, I’m sure you’ll love how tasty and quick (have I said that before) this recipe is. Just perfection!

Bon appétit!

Need a Quickie?
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.
  3. Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
  4. Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 191 Fat: 18.7g Saturated fat: 3.4g Unsaturated fat: 12.8g Trans fat: 1.9g Carbohydrates: 3.5g Sugar: 3.1g Sodium: 170.9mg Fiber: .4g Protein: 3.1g Cholesterol: 5.5mg

 

Happy Easter!

It’s Easter! And we all have wonderful memories of this holiday, don’t we? I remember hunting for eggs, Mom making a wonderful ham with all the sides ie macaroni cheese, potato salad, Lima beans, and I’m sure she made her wonderful yeast rolls, too. And, of course, we had deviled eggs. What’s Easter without deviled eggs?

This photo is one of my favorite childhood pictures of me and my sister in our Easter dresses. I loved that dress I was wearing (I’m on the left). And aren’t our twin haircuts cute as pie? Funny, my sister has perfectly straight hair and mine is naturally curly – but look at our hair. My Mom was determined to have us look alike, I think! I learned much later on in life to not fight the curl.

Back to Easter, although I won’t be cooking a traditional Easter dinner, I did think to make these wonderful Peanut Butter Eggs. Think Reese Cups, yes! In fact, you can most certainly use the same recipe to make your own Reese Cups. Simply make the filling, roll into small balls. Melt the chocolate. Spoon a small amount into your mini paper cup, rolling the cup around so the chocolate goes up the sides. Let set. Add one peanut butter ball per cup. Cover with additional melted chocolate and let set. Wa la, you now have homemade Reese Cups! And they are to die for.

For the eggs, I rolled the peanut butter filling into balls, then smashed that into each cavity of a silicone egg mold (you can purchase this one by clicking on the photo). Then into the freezer until firm. Then I melted the chocolate and shortening for dipping! Although mine weren’t decorated quite like Easter eggs, I used what I had on hand. That’s the beauty of these eggs, you can leave them plain or decorate as you desire. They will be delicious no matter what’s on the outside!

Bon appétit!

Peanut Butter Eggs
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 20 eggs
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups Creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1-2 bags Milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
Instructions
  1. Beat together powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter together. At this point the dough will be crumbly. Add two tablespoons of milk and continue to beat together until the dough softens. If the dough still seems crumbly that is ok.
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness. About ½ thickness. You can use egg cookie cutters or with a knife, shape the dough to look like eggs.
  3. Place eggs on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for an hour.
  4. When you are ready to dip them, add the chocolate and 1 Tbsp shortening in a microwave and melt 30 seconds at a time. Stirring it after every 30 seconds and being careful not to cook the chocolate to burn.
  5. Dip each egg in chocolate. I used a spoon to help cover in the chocolate. Place them on wax paper to set.
  6. If more chocolate is needed, melt the second bag with the shortening. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 130 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 12g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 76mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 2mg

 

Tea Time!

Don’t those look just scrumptious? They are called Cranberry Tea Cookies. I’m not much for sitting around sipping tea and eating Crumpets but I can guarantee you I could very well be doing just that with these cookies.

They remind me of Pecan Sandies without the powdered sugar coating. I think Pecan Sandies are close to the very first cookie I ever made and boy did my family love them. These tea cookies have the same shortbread texture chock full of cranberries and pecans. I could see how they would pair nicely with a cup of hot tea. I plan to make another batch soon but will substitute dried blueberries instead of the cranberries. Can you imagine how awesome those will be?  And then I might try a batch with chopped dried figs, and then perhaps a batch made as thumbprints with some dark chocolate in the center. You get the idea . . . the variations are endless with the basic dough recipe. Just use your imagination.

By the way, I had to look up Crumpets just to see what they are and here is the definition – “Crumpets are the quintessential, afternoon tea treat, served warm with lots of butter. The soft, spongy crumpets we know today, reputedly, come from the Victorian era and are very different from early, flat griddle cakes. It is the extra yeast in the batter which creates the soft texture and the myriad of little holes on the top (so perfect for soaking up the butter).”

They look alot and sound alot like English Muffins to me which, by the way, are in this post.  I love making those and you just can’t beat the fresh flavor that comes from making your own.

But for now, try these Cranberry Tea Cookies.  They are not difficult and are really, really good!  Let me know how you like them!

Bon appétit!

Cranberry Tea Cookies
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup chopped dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup extra sugar
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and mix. Add flour and salt and mix well. Stir in cranberries and pecans.
  2. Roll into two logs, each about 8 x 1½" long. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for two hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  4. Unwrap one roll. Slice cookies about ¼" thick, rolling individually in sugar. You want to be sure to coat the edges just perfectly. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. The cookies won't spread much, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking them after 10 minutes. Do not over bake them. They should look baked and have just a hint of color. You don't want them to get very brown on the edges or on top.
  5. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cookies Calories: 190 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 6g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 21g Sugar: 8g Sodium: 61mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 25mg

 

The Best Bloody Mary

The title of this post is “The Best Bloody Mary”! Although I have little experience drinking these, I did make a gazillion of them as a bartender and certainly served just as many as a waitress. I have only recently tried the Bloody Mary myself. It is truly an acquired thing, much like a good Scotch. But I digress. . . this Bloody Mary is quite good and is the best in my book. It’s quite flavorful with just the right amount of spice!

Kick off your Sunday morning brunch with a round for everyone. You’ll thank me later!

Live it up and drink it down!

The Best Bloody Mary
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 6 ounces Tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Olive juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-6 shakes Tabasco
  • pinch celery salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • lime juice
  • coarse sea salt
  • various veggies for garnish
Instructions
  1. Dip pint glass in lime juice. Roll in coarse sea salt. Fill glass with ice.
  2. In a shaker, add a few cubes of ice. Add all ingredients (minus the toppings) and shake to combine.
  3. Strain into the pint glass. Garnish with chosen veggies!

 

Crock Pot Beer Chicken

One day I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try. With beer being one of the key ingredients, I figure it had to be good, right? And it is!  It’s also low fat and low calorie and did I mention good? And oh so easy!

I usually make it for dinner one night and then make Chicken Salad out of the rest or even Barbeque Chicken Sliders. It’s great either way. Watch for both of those recipes shortly! They’re a coming!

Bon appétit!

Crock Pot Beer Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Mains
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (use eight 4 oz breasts)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts into crock pot. Add beer. Sprinkle spices on top. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Delicious!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 oz Calories: 257 Fat: 5g Saturated fat: 1g Unsaturated fat: 1g Trans fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 3g Sodium: 491mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 44g Cholesterol: 116mg

 

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