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Appetizers/ HotApp

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Award winning mushroom!

A Top Chef winner I am not, neither am I a Chopped Champion, Cutthroat Kitchen, MasterChef or even Worst Cook in American winner. BUT, I did win two recipe contest with my recipe for Italian Stuffed Mushrooms. This was way, way back in the 70’s; I can’t believe I have never posted this recipe before.

I put together this recipe back in the 70’s when we lived in Louisville. It all started with a contest (I love contest and I love competition) and me trying to come up with something original to enter; I didn’t want the usual sausage stuffed or crab stuffed mushroom so I just started putting together some ingredients and came up with this and 40 years later still use the same recipe.

After winning these contests and these was the only ones I ever won, I started sending recipes to Southern Living Magazine. For every recipe they printed (and I think they printed 5 of mine), they sent me 50 recipe cards that said “my recipe printed in Southern Living magazine” and then at the end of the year, they sent me the annual cookbook which also had my recipes printed in it. This was one recipe they printed. I started this recipe with some chopped up onion, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and italian season and some garlic powder, I also added some Italian seasoned bread crumbs. I don’t know why anyone would bother counting carbs in this recipe; the bread crumbs are only 25 carbs for all the filling. So put them in if you want to.

I’m sitting here typing up the recipe still in disbelief that I never shared this with you. I never really made this for any of my catering jobs (maybe once or twice) because I like to serve these right out of the oven and never cared for the way mushrooms looked when they sat in the oven too long. If you make these, and I hope you will, you can make the filling the day before, fill the mushroom caps and cook right as your guest arrive.

A funny thing happened the first time I made these and I’m almost ashamed to tell you but ya know the little package of preservative stuff that comes in with the already cut pepperoni; well, when I was putting the slices into my food processor to chop up I was in a hurry and forgot to look for that little package and it was shredded with it’s contents into my pepperoni.  I had to start all over with the chopping and I have never made that mistake again.

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Appetizers/ HotApp/ Morning Foods

Fried Avocado with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Crunchy wedges of avocado!

Labor Day has come and gone and I hope everyone had a happy one. Avocados, I’m sure made an appearance at probably 80% of the gatherings yesterday.

I never ate avocados as a kid, or even as a young adult; and it probably wasn’t until we moved to Texas that I really started buying and eating them and then it was just guacamole for a long time. Finally I started venturing out and trying different ways to use it.

While in Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle last month I didn’t really see avocado on a lot of menus. While we were doing our food tour in Seattle (Savor Seattle Walking Food Tour) and walking up and down those VERY steep streets our guide, Samatha (she was great), asked if we could swim in a sea of food what would our favorite food be; I said guacamole and everyone (including a family from Germany) said ohhhh yeahhhhh!

We have done three food tours now and this one is the first where everyone had headphones to wear. They were great because as we hiked up and down all those steep streets getting to our next destination, everyone could hear Samatha over all the street traffic; and once we got to the location we didn’t need them as either one of the chefs or restaurant managers would explain to us about their restaurant and the foods we were eating.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Jalapeño Popper Spread

Hot and spicy and good with a cracker or a chip!

We all love looking at Pinterest and the beautiful foods that people post there. Before I was hooked on Pinterest I was hooked on trying to get a picture of a recipe posted at Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I was lucky enough to get 3 out of 80+ (pitiful) posted there. And having a picture posted on Foodgawker or Tastespotting almost guaranteed a blog a lot of traffic from people wanting to find the recipe behind such a beautiful picture.  I guess I didn’t take that many “beautiful” pictures. (My husband even has a Pinterest account now.)

Looking at my recipes that were on Foodgawker, Coconut Oatmeal Pie (3,244 view), Salted Caramel Ice Cream (3,983 views) and Quick and Easy Banana Pudding (10,607 views) it seemed like I got more traffic but then I take my old stand by favorite cookie, Peanut Butter Shadow cookies, and it has had 29,416 views.  That’s a ridiculous number of view and I really don’t know how that many people found the recipe without knowing the name and searching for “peanut butter shadow cookies“. I’ve had that recipe since the 70’s and has always been my favorite peanut butter cookie.

Long story short is I finally realized that I don’t have to keep trying to get my pictures posted at those two sites when I can simply “pin it” at Pinterest and eventually a lot of people get around to looking at it. Now if I can just figure out how to make money on the blog, then I’d be satisfied but until I do, it’s fun to make and blog new recipes.

I gave up also on trying to make a Jalapeño Popper like you get in restaurants. Never could figure out how to get the breading to stick to the outside for a fresh jalapeño. This recipe for Jalapeño Popper Spread literally popped off the page the day I was looking at Pinterest.  It reminds me of a cold dip that a friend always finds at Sam’s around the holidays. Sam’s is kind of a cold version of this recipe but with some artichokes thrown in; so I did a little changing around of some of the ingredients and thank you to All Recipes for giving me the start of something wonderful and lip smacking good.

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Appetizers/ HotApp/ Side dish

Cheesy Mashed Potato Pancakes

These are fantastic!

Why is it that when we are served something made by a man that it taste so special? I don’t mean a male chef but someone in your family. My son Paul is a wonderful chef and I know anything he serves me will be wonderful and most likely something he grew in his garden or even eggs from his chickens. My son, Scott makes the best “24 hour no knead bread” and you would think it came from some artisinal bakery.

When we were in Austin a while back staying with my daughter and her husband after the birth of little Thomas I did a lot of cooking. But, one night Toby (new dad) had some left over garlic mashed potatoes that he had made over the weekend and he turned them into the most delicious potato pancakes. We sitting and watching the baby and he presented us each with a plate with one large potato pancake with a dollop of sour cream; crisp to perfection; and one night I was doing a Tortilla soup and he prepped the extra vegetables and I have to say they were a perfect 1/4″ dice. I could not have done better myself.

I remember my mother and grandmother both making potato pancakes but they never tasted like these pancakes. Maybe it was the roasted garlic or the green onions, or the cheese that make them so mouth watering good. He fried them just right; crisp on the outside, soft and smooth on the inside; and the best part of all was the dollop of sour cream on the side. There was just something about the hot crispy potato pancake with the cold sour cream that had me thinking when I was going to make them for someone.

Our friends Peggy and Gordon were getting ready to go to Hawaii to celebrate their 30th anniversary and we had them over for dinner one Sunday night. I served these just as my son-in-law did, on a small plate with a big dollop of sour cream on the side sprinkled with some freshly snipped chives. The rest of the meal was a grilled pork tenderloin steak which I will be posting soon and some baby bok choy and also a “raw” corn salad.

This recipe came from blog. A note about frying them — I fried about 30 minutes in advance and put on cooling rack and put in oven. I should have fried after they arrived and served them right from the skillet. Mine got a little soft but were still delicious, just not as delicious as Toby’s.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Cheesy Baked Olives

Yes, those olives…

After years of cooking and trying different recipes, all those old favorites got shoved to the back of the recipe box (don’t use one of those any more) or hidden away on my computer some place.

I always like thinking I can come up with new recipes from being inspired from things I’ve had in a restaurant or looking at someone else’s recipe and changing it up to “make it my own”. Don’t you just hate that saying “make it your own”. Most of the time after trying a recipe I will definitely change it up to suit our likes or dislikes.

So, this Cheesy Baked Olive recipe is something I made way, way, way back in the 70′s as a newlywed (that was 1969) for guest and it seems like they were always enjoyed. I’m sorry Cheesy Baked Olive recipe for forsaking you for so long in favor of other more trendy appetizers. And, I promise to make you more often.

I doubled the pastry for the olives since my jar had about 50 olives in it. I think the larger green olives that are stuffed with jalapeños or garlic would make a wonderful bite and you would definitely need more pastry to cover these olives. I think a little cayenne pepper would spice these up a little.

I have to apologize for the pictures. When I was making these I thought no one was going to want to try this old recipe so I snapped the pictures with my phone instead of getting out my camera, lights and tripod. So, please excuse the blurry pictures.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Fish/Seafood/ HotApp

Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang Shrimp


  • 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • Egg mixture:
  • 3 egg beaten
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • Breading mixture
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. panko breadcrumbs crushed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Slap Your Mama seasoning or Old Bay
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • Lettuce leaves or shredded lettuce to line dish
  • Oil for frying


  1. Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  2. Beat the eggs in a shallow pan and set this aside.
  3. In another bowl, combine the 1/4 cup flour, cornstarch, panko, salt pepper, onion, garlic powder and Slap Your Mama.
  4. To bread the shrimp first dredge in 1/2 cup flour. Shake off excess flour.  Next dip the shrimp 5 or 6 at a time into the beaten eggs then put in bowl with the breading mixture and toss to make sure they are coated well. Arrange the breaded shrimp on a plate and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or cook immediately.
  5. Heat the oil to 350. Use about 1-2" of oil in your pan. When oil is hot fry shrimp 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels. When you have fried all the shrimp put them in a large bowl that contains the sauce mixture and toss the shrimp until coated. Sprinkle in the green onions and put in dish and serve.

DO NOT USE honey — Ok, the story about this honey is I was fussing at my husband one day about him using so much honey for his cereal (sometimes 3 times a day) and when I need it to make a salad dressing or some other “real” food, there’s no honey. So he goes out and buys two huge bottles of honey and writes “do not use” on the bottle”. SORRY GA, I had no honey to call my own and had to use his honey for the Bang Bang Shrimp.

Appetizers/ Fish/Seafood/ HotApp/ Side dish

Shrimp Foo Yung

Ugly duckling, but oh so good.

There are recipes that my sister and I have been making for a couple of decades maybe even three decades. Isn’t that a long time to use the same recipe. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’ve been saying I want to make more Chinese (Asian I guess is politically correct) food and this is a recipe that’s been in our collection for so long, we don’t even know where it came from.

Not the cutest kid on the block by far, but it is so tasty you will go back for another one and then maybe even one or two more and the sauce that you pour over it is just the right touch.

While visiting my sister a while back we were iced in for several days and all we did was make tamales and cook. One night we (she) made our Shrimp Foo Yung recipe and I remembered just how good it was and scold myself for not making it more often.

Hope you like this.  It is delicious served with my Beef and Pea Pods (her recipe too) or my Chinese Fried Rice or if you have a hankering for some Asian style ribs, this would be a wonderful side dish.

My sister and I both want to try making these using egg rings so the end result will be a perfectly round circle of goodness.  When I do, I will repost picture of what they look like.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Zucchini Pasta with Pine Nuts is a pretty carb friendly dish. It only has a tiny bit of whole wheat pasta and the remaining “pasta” is made from zucchini.  Since I posted this 1/12 I’ve had almost 2000 views of the recipe.  (Someone’s looking.)

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Pork Belly (PBLT) Bites

If you like BLT’s you’ll love this.

Here’s the third installment of the pork belly saga.  I know you are thinking “is she ever going to get over pork belly” — the answer is NO.  I will save the taco and benedict recipes for later.

I made Anne Burrell’s recipe for braised pork belly a while back and knew since pork belly is my favorite “bacon” type product I wanted to try braising some.

I usually pick up my pork belly at an Asian market. It’s about the only thing I buy at the Asian market since I bought those frog legs that time that still had little webbed feet on them and looked like the offsprings of some mother or father that had been gigged one dark night from a “John” boat. (That’s the way my dad got them anyway.) These particular frogs looked more like babies than the big plump ones I have had in the past and I could have gone out in my yard and rounded up a few yard frogs if that were the type I wanted. (Of course I wouldn’t do that.)

If you don’t see pork belly ask your butcher about it or if you live where we were from in Missouri, it’s called Fresh Side Pork, or uncured bacon. Here’s the recipe just in case you want to try making braised pork belly.

This little appetizer is a play on BLT sandwich. I love Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches, who doesn’t, and I cannot tell you what year I last had one. Why? I don’t know, but this app has all the ingredients but in one small (or two) bites.

Longman and Eagle in Chicago use to serve a pork belly sandwich that was spread with a tomato fennel jam and it was mouth watering delicious. Since I don’t intend on making that jam, I was excited to find a jar of tomato preserves at our local gourmet market.

My plan of attack for this little bite was to butter a thin slice of baguette, top with a little tomato jam, a leaf of arugular, crispy pork belly (or thick apple smoked bacon), then a thin slice of calmari tomato and maybe another piece of argula (or not). Then a little drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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Appetizers/ Bread/ ColdApp/ Entree/ HotApp/ Pork

Momofuku’s Steamed Buns and Quick Pickles

Soft and delicious buns and the pickles are bad either.

Here’s the second installment of the pork belly saga.

Thinking of Steamed Buns brings up thoughts of dim sum and being in Chinatown/San Francisco. Back in 2001 (just a week before 9/11 happened) we were in San Francisco/Napa with our friends Peggy and Gordon. While in San Francisco we were in Chinatown and went for dim sum at supposedly one of their best places. Well, Peggy and I both can now hear the word “dim sum” and it always gets a smile and chuckle from us.

We didn’t know what to order and it seemed like everything put on our plates was sweet and gooey. I remember the buns but not what was in ours, something sweet and gooey I’m sure. Anyway, it was a fun experience watching all the waitpeople come by with their carts of goodies. Too bad we weren’t up on what to order off the menu.

Since, that experience we have had dim sum with our son/daughter-in-law in Chicago and they’re experts on everything on the menu and we have enjoyed it very much and will be much better prepared the next time on what to order.

So for this recipe you will need the Braised Pork Belly recipe that I posted a few days ago and the cucumbers that are used in this little Pork Belly Steamed Bun Sandwich.

I do hope you will try these little buns, or you could make a pulled pork sandwich using these little white buns.

I think these Steamed Buns, the Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Pork Belly and the glaze make one terrific bite of a sandwich and you won’t regret the hours it takes making the pork belly or the buns. I’m giving you the pickle recipe along with the steamed buns just because the pickles are so quick and easy and the “pickle” post would be all of about two lines long. So, you can eat these pickles with whatever you chose; I made them to go with the Pork Belly and Steamed Bun sandwich.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Fried Brussels Sprout Leaves

What a great veggie appetizer.

I mentioned in earlier post that I had dinner one night at the Salty Sow in Austin several months ago. We ordered these fried Brussels sprouts for an appetizer and it was hard to stop eating them. We didn’t until they were gone.

I was watching one of the food shows the other night and they were talking about food trends and which ones should stick around and which ones have run their course.  Bacon was one they discussed and I don’t think people will ever get tired of bacon. Scallops was another one and also an “egg on top of everything” was another. I have seen the egg on lots of menu. Why is it people want to throw an egg on top of pizza, pasta, burgers and even soup?

When it comes to Brussels sprouts they are now on Forbes top 10 vegetable list. I never liked them, never even saw them on the table when I was growing up so my dad must not have liked them either.  I always thought of them as these hard little cabbages that were bitter and you had to chase them all over your plate to try and catch them. In some areas Brussels sprouts are more popular on the appetizer menu than calamari.

Since there was no recipe I could find online for Salty Sow’s French Fried Brussels sprouts I had to come up with my own. Not really a recipe at all. I knew there app had Brussels sprouts (shaved), golden raisins and pecorino cheese. I added a couple tablespoons of good balsamic to the golden raisins for a little sweet/tartness and I had asiago cheese since I could not find pecorino at my grocery. All I can say about this appetizer is that we were eating these as soon as they were taken up and mixed with the raisins, cheese and sea salt.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

French Fried Beets with Japanese Mayonnaise

Whaaaat, fried beets?

French fried beets; the yellow ones look like potatoes but are actually golden beets.

Don’t you just love rainy days? I do and I’m probably the only person who likes bad weather whether it is a thunder storm, all day rain, hail, snow storm — bring it on — my perfect day. I do like nice days when the temperatures stay in the 70’s but I long for those cloudy, drizzly days; I just can’t explain it.

While in Austin one weekend we were running around one rainy Friday morning, (ended up getting about 3-4 inches of rain) while the kids were working and grandkids at school, trying to find one of my favorite tea place and I was really wanting to eat at one of the local food trucks. I wanted to try Paul Qui’s East Side King trailer but they didn’t open until later in the day. We did find one of his ESK’s open at Hole in The Wall bar where his place occupies the back part of the building.

So I had read that the beets were to die for and the Brussels sprouts salad was great. The salad was good but was drenched in dressing and I can’t wait to try and make the salad with my touch. The beets were really good and the dipping sauce made with Japanese mayonnaise and seasoning made them even better.

Paul Qui was the 9th season winner of Top Chef and has his new restaurant Qui (key) and I think two food trailers, and his place in Hole in the Wall. Watch his video at the Qui link above and see how he started his restaurant. He had pottery especially made and even the aprons they wear in the kitchen. Really interesting video.

I couldn’t wait more than a couple of days after returning home to buy some beets and try to make the French fried beets. I could not find the mayo or the seasoning. Since making the recipe I did locate them on Amazon so will be ordering them for future recipes and I’m also checking Whole Foods to see if they carry them.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ HotApp

Fried Deviled Eggs

What can I say? You just have to try them.

Lucy’s Fried Chicken was a nice find when were in Austin a while back. Of course we ordered fried chicken but we also ordered some fried chicken gizzards (my favorite) for appetizers and tried their deep fried deviled eggs. I loved the gizzards but the deep fried deviled eggs had to be put on my list of must tries for the blog. We all know that anything fried is good but in my life, I have never heard of a fried deviled egg. Couldn’t pass up the homemade moon pies either, but we were good, ordered one to go and cut it in fourths to share when we got home.

I get excited finding new restaurants to try when we are visiting our kids. Olivia’s and Lucy’s are both owned by Chef James Holmes. Olivia’s was his first restaurant and Lucy is his southern sister restaurant. He has two daughters named Olivia and Lucy; isn’t that sweet. Olivia’s has been named one of the top new restaurants in America by Bon Appetite and we ate there when our son Paul graduated from culinary school. Take a look at their websites; two totally different restaurants and I love both of them. I don’t know if you are like me but I want to look at the menus before I go some place and I spend a lot of time looking at different menus anyway for inspiration. I usually know where I want to eat before I get to the city I’m going to. Why don’t you take a look at their menus if you have time.

I think Lucy’s will be around for quite a while; the food’s great, the atmosphere even better and I think Olivia’s has already proven it’s self.

I wasn’t sure about the deviled eggs and have decided to try them two different ways. One, I’m taking the whole deviled egg half (like Lucy’s did) and putting in flour, egg and then flour (I guess that’s the way they did them) and the other way is breading just the whites, frying and then piping in the egg filling.  See which one you like the best.

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