New Years Day Mac & Cheese

New Years Day Mac and Cheese Bake

1 lb al dente macaroni (i like penne or old fashioned elblows best)
2 cups diced ham
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup swiss cheese
1/2cup Gruyere cheese
1 cup whole milk
1 clove garlic
1/2 stick butter + 2tsp of  flour for the roux
fresh croutons (or Panko) and your fave herbs and spices

Here's how I like to do it.  In a sauce pan, make a roux with the flour and butter.  Slowly add milk and mix well.  Add in most of the cheeses, reserving some of the top of the dish.   Season with garlic, a pinch of herbs de Provence and pepper. Simmer on very low until all cheese in incorporated.  Meanwhile, grease a large (and deep) baking dish.  Next, make layers in the dish with mac then ham...then mac, then ham.  You get it, right? Pour the cheese mixture over the mac and ham.  Top with reserved cheese and croutons and enjoy!

You can easily use whatever cheese you like with this, but I wouldn't recommend reducing the fat on the milk.  I tried that once, and it just wasn't as tasty. 



Sweet Potato Fries

If you know me at all, you know I don't like to follow recipes.  So forgive this sloppy recipe:

In a large bowl combine combine about 1 lb of sweet potatoes (cut into the french fry shapes of your choice) with 1/2 cup garlic olive oil (if you don't have just use olive oil and add chopped garlic.) Toss well, and then start seasoning.  For the tasty treats above, we used about 1 TSP each dry mustard, chopped shallots, curry powder, smoked Salish sea salt, coarse ground pepper, chives, Ancho chili powder, Chipotle powder and smoked paprika.  Cook in a preheated 450 degree oven until crispy or for about 25 minutes.  They're best if you flip them half way through. 


cilantro surprise...delish!

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9pm snacks

mmm! honey chili wontons...

the girls made pizza. avery grace made asparagus and ellie a turkey smiley face!


Fight Night

Drunken chicken legs made with wimg sauce, spices and beer!!
Gorgonzla and honey!  Love the contrasting flavors

the sundried pesto torte from TJ's is to die for!!
Who doesn't love baby brie?

Had a small soiree last night and totally took the easy way out with some easy appetizers.  They were enjoyed as was the company!  Can't wait till our lasagna cook off in a few weeks!  Watch out Bobby Buckman!!!


Fresh Salsa

Ready to roast for fresh salsa!

Honorable Mention

Today is the day that Saucy Mama "I am A Saucy Mama" recipe contest winners were announced.  I didn't win, but I did a very nice personal note from them.  They said that they loved my recipe, and that I used 3 products.  Apparently the liked it so much they decided to give  me an honorable mention!  WOW!  what a compliment!  They are even going to send me some saucy prizes. Check out their blog in the next few weeks to see my recipe.  Or you can get it here too!  Also, I think I should mention that the products are really amazing.  We all know how snobby I am when it comes to other peoples sauces and goodies, but I honestly do love the products the products I've tasted so far.  And they are very versatile. 

 Also, I think I should mention that the products are really amazing.  We all know how snobby I am when it comes to other peoples sauces and goodies, but I honestly do love the products the products I've tasted so far. Thank you Saucy Mama for such a fun contest, I look forward to more in the future!


Lunch at Pier 46 with my Pal Emilie

Fish Tacos and Crab Cakes a la Pier 46

One of my fave places to go for lunch is Pier 46 in Templeton!  Super fresh and so delicious.  I got to have lunch there today with my pal Emilie. Next time you go to Trader Joe's you should eat there.  Calimari salad is amazing too. 


A Few of My Favorite Things...

Plum tomatoes with sea salt, finely chopped cilantro and garlic infused olive oil


A Very Saucy Party & a Contest

I've been debating, hemming and hawing and going back and forth for weeks over this Saucy Mama Contest.  After much deliberation, thought and sampling, I give you my submission of Mahi Mahi Tostadas with Crunchy Apple Slaw and Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce. This is a quick and easy recipe to make, but is impressive in presentation and taste!   The sweetness of the green apples is a surprising contrast to the spicy Lime Cilantro Sauce while the Avocado Cilantro Sauce adds just the right bite at the end.  This recipe contains the following Saucy Mama products:

Below are the directions to make the Mahi Mahi Tostadas...

Wonton Tostada Shells
·         1 Package of won-ton wrappers
·         Olive oil spray
·         Salt, chili powder and garlic powder to sprinkle
Spray each won-ton with olive oil spray and place into muffin tin to form a bowl or a tostada.  Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  Let cool, but do not remove from muffin tin.

  Lime Chipotle Mahi Mahi
·         2 lbs of Mahi Mahi
·         The juice and zest of 1 lime
·         ½ cup Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade
Preheat oven to 350.  Place fish in greased glass pan and cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes or until flaky and firm. Break apart fish and add marinade.  Mix well and set aside.

Crunchy Apple Cabbage Slaw
·         2 large Granny Smith apples cut into matchsticks
·         2 cups shredded cabbage mix
·         1 cup shredded purple cabbage (for color)
·         ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
·         ¼ cup chives, chopped
·         The juice and zest of 2 limes
·         4 TSP Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade
·         1 splash vinegar
·         Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients will and chill.  This can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.  If making ahead, don’t add the purple cabbage until just before serving or everything will be pink!  

Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce
·         1 cup cilantro
·         5 Saucy Mama Jalapeño Stuffed Olives
·         2 large avocados
·         1 clove garlic
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         water
Blend everything in the blender, adding a tsp or 2 of water as needed so that it's smooth and creamy and the consistency of sour cream.  This can easily be made a day or two a head of time and stored in the refrigerator. 

Spicy Spanish Rice
·         1 cup rice
·         4 TSP sesame oil
·         1 TSP Ketchup
·         2 TSP Saucy Mama Wing Sauce
·         2 cups water
·         3 TSP chicken bouillon powder
·         ½ cup chopped purple onion
·         1 cup cooked or canned black or kidney beans
·         1 cup whole kernel sweet corn

In a large skillet over high heat sesame oil and add rice.  Brown rice for about 1-2 minutes or until slightly golden.  Add ketchup and Saucy Mama Wing Sauce and mix well, stirring constantly for 1 more minute.  Add water, bullion and onion and bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy and all of the water is absorbed. Add beans and corn and fluff with a fork.

The finished product...
To assemble the mini tostadas simply add a spoonful of fish into the won-ton, then add a spoonful of the slaw.  Top with a bit of Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce.  Serve with Spicy Spanish Rice and a lime wedge.  Not only is this recipe easy, but it's a super party pleaser that is beautiful to look at, easy to eat and full of bright and fresh flavors. It is also very adaptable.  Add a bit of sesame seed, some ginger, a few dashes of sriracha and soy and suddenly it has a spicy Asian twist.

If you want to win your own Saucy Mama products, please leave a comment here or on Facebook telling me your fave party food.  I'll randomly pick a winner on Sept 30th.  


So Saucy & a Contest

I've been lucky enough to be entered into a recipe contest sponsored by Saucy Mama and Barhyte's Specialty Foods. I am so excited and can't even think of where to begin.  There are so many good things to chose from.  While the deadline is looming by, we have been experimenting with the different products they sent me to sample. So far, we love everything!

You can love them too. If you want to be entered to win your very own Saucy Mama products, simply post a comment on this blog describing your favorite party food. (You can also enter by leaving a comment on my Facebook Page.)  On September 30th, 2010 I will randomly select a contest winner who will receive several of Saucy Mama's delicious products. Winner will be notified via this blog.

Sweet Onion Dijon Potato Salad
The Sweet Onion Marinade made an amazing twist to my Dijon potato salad. Here's the recipe.

Sweet Dijon Red Potato Salad
2 lbs of red potatoes, quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pinch of celery seed
1 shallot, diced
2 heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of Saucy Mama's Sweet Onion Marinade

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix potatoes with olive oil, shallots, salt and pepper and spread over baking sheet.  Roast in oven for about 20 minutes or until tender but still holding shape.  Let cool.  Add Dijon, Sweet Onion Marinade and celery seed.  Season if needed with additional salt and pepper and garnish with parsley. 


Summer Spinach Salad

With Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette 

  • 1/4 cup peach white balsamic
  • 1/4 cup peach nectar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • spalsh of red wine vinegar (mostly to make that lovely peach color)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • 1 pinch herbs de Provence
  • dash of salt and pepper
Whisk or shake all ingredients together, and thank me later!   I served it over a bed of baby spinach, smoked almonds, white onion and clementines, with a smidgen of feta.  I think Gorgonzola would work too. 



There is a day approaching that I am trying to avoid.  It will be one year since my Grandpa Power left us, and I am really not sure what day he died, but I know it's approaching.  I kind of don't want to know.

What I do know is that while slicing into a perfectly ripe avocado, I realized how many fun memories of my Grandpa revolve around food.  As un-gourmet as it sounds, there is nothing like a ripe avocado crudely mashed onto a toasted piece of wheat toast and sprinkled with Bob's Big Boy seasoning.  It instantly makes me thinks of mornings in my grandpa's kitchen watching him stir wheat germ into his water.

Year before last Gpa gave me 10 bottles of the stuff kind of as a joke.  I didn't think of it until recently, but I think maybe, just maybe he bought it in the hopes that it would keep a fond memory alive for me.  It surely has.


Red Potato Salad-sans mayo

Red potatoes before roasting

Rustic Red Potato Salad

  • 5lbs red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs de Provence
  • chopped shallots
  • chopped garlic

Preheat oven to 400.  Chop potatoes into quarters and add to large bowl.  Add olive oil and then season with the spices I suggested or use your own favorite.  Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, bake for an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes look caramelized.  Let cool and then add a bit more balsamic and olive oil about 4 TSP each.

Adding a bit of mayonnaise to this makes it creamy and tossing in a bit of bacon makes it awesome!!


What's For Dinner

I've had a vision of Asian Pork Tacos for a few weeks now and have yet to really pull it off.  I tried it in the crockpot and it was delish, but not really what I wanted.  I pictured something a little crispy, a little sweet and a little salty. My husband brought up his love for Teriyaki pork chops, so that's what I made tonight.  I let them marinade over night in a homemade marinade of soy, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, cilantro and orange juice.  I BBQ'd them on low for about 5 minutes on each side.  Then after a mandatory rest on the counter, I sliced into the thin chops and was wowed!  My husband was right!  They are fab. I made them with my fave slaw.  Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Asian Slaw
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 radishes, jullianed
  • TSP fresh cilantro
   For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 4 tsp oyster sauce or soy sauce
  • fresh grated garlic and ginger to taste
For the dressing, simply combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with whisk.  Add cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes to the dressing and mix well.  Top with cilantro.  Goes great with a few honey roasted peanuts or crispy chow mein noodles.


Do I know the way to my man's heart or what?  Turkey chili dogs, while so simple and quick are one of my most fave disgusting food addictions.  I don't meant that it's really disgusting, it's just something that you could eat all the time and live with yourself.  When I was in my early 20's I mainly ate beer, vodka and other assorted spirits sandwiches and Top Ramen and the occasional TCD-turkey chili dog.  So last night when I just really didn't feel like cooking, I made him one, and he was happy!  I was too.  It made me feel 20 again. (Not really.)

What's one of your fave disgusting food addictions? 

Uh oh!

Whoops!  I was trying to get fancy with my blog and I ended up changing it entirely!  I will be finalizing my changes soon, and have some fun things on the horizon, including a give-away and some delish new recipes.  I hope you'll be back to check out it soon.


I recently had the pleasure of helping a dear friend with the food for a baby shower. One of the hits of the party was a very simple let delicious cheese ball recipe. Ours were more like cheese mountains, as we molded them in small souffle cups. Here's the recipe for all you die hard cheeseballers!

Cheeseballs/Cheese mountains
  • 1 package non-fat cream cheese
  • about 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • about 1/2 cup of finely diced Armour Dried Beef
Bon appetite!



Roasted Garlic, Shallot, Onion & Potato Soup
· 5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
· 1 package of shallots, onion and garlic (near the salad at Tj’s)
o Or 1shallot, 1 small onion, and one clove garlic, finely chopped.
· 1 bulb roasted garlic
· 2 TSP butter
· 1 TSP olive oil + more as needed
· 2 cups chicken stock
· ½ cup half and half or milk
· Lots of salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot sauté shallot, onion, and garlic in butter and olive for about 4 minutes or until soft. Add potatoes and sauté for an additional 4 minutes, adding more oil as needed so that the potatoes don’t brown, but soften. Add stock and roasted garlic and reduce heat to medium. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes fall apart and are translucent. Season and add milk, and puree with immersion blender until smooth. Great additions would be rosemary, bacon or pancetta, broccoli and cheese.