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Welcome to Our Blog

Friday, February 28, 2014

Poor Man Chicken Parm.

I whipped this up a couple years ago on a night when I couldn't for the life of me think of something to make for dinner and didn't want to drive to the store. What's in the fridge and the freezer?

Chicken patties.
Pasta sauce.
Mozarella cheese.

$10 for a meal of 4 and the kids will love it and GET FULL? Yep.

Oil. Chicken patties. Tomato pasta sauce. 8oz shredded mozarella cheese (or parm, or your choice).

1. Fry the chicken patties in a pan with about 3-4 Tbsp of oil (enough to cover the pan you're using) for about 10-12 minutes (I do this to make them a little crunchy.

2. Take the patties out of pan and place in a 13x9 glass baking dish (greased).

3. Drop 2-3 Tbsp of sauce per patty.

4. Cover all patties evenly with mozarella cheese.

Bake in oven at 375, for 10 minutes.w
Serve hot.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas in a Peppery White Cream Sauce

When I think of enchiladas, I typically think of a red or green sauce, beef and lots of cheddar cheese.  Well these enchiladas are not any of that.  At all.
These are instead made with shredded, rotisserie chicken and the sauce is a velvety, pepper jack blend of deliciousness.  They're not hard to make and the results will make your family very, very happy.  They reheat perfectly, and I'd strongly recommend doubling the recipe for weekday lunch leftovers.
Here's what I do:

4 T. butter  (divided use)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
2-1/2 c. chicken broth
4 oz. can diced green chilies
1 large jalapeno, seeded, and finely diced
1 shallot, minced
6 oz sour cream (don't use fat free)
2 c. shredded cooked chicken
6 oz. pepper jack cheese
6 flour tortillas (8 inch size)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt  2 T. butter, saute jalapeno & shallot until very tender.  Stir in green chilies.  Add 2T. butter to pan (with jalapeno /shallot) and stir in flour to mix well.  Slowly add broth while stirring to combine mixture. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 min. or until thickened. Add pepper jack and stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and add sour cream.  Mix well.  This is the sauce.  You can salt & pepper to taste, but I find the broth is salty enough, usually and with the jalapeno, pepper may not be necessary either.  Your choice.

In a bowl combine chicken with cheddar & bacon, if desired.  Spoon 1/2 c. or so chicken mixture into tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down in a 9x13 in. baking dish.  Repeat until gone.

                                                                   (pic before baking)

Carefully pour sauce over all and bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until golden on top.

These are wonderful served with Spanish rice and pinto beans, but also fare beautifully with a garden fresh green salad.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Steak & Potato Breakfast Bowl

What to do with left overs?

     My oldest son Tony, is now 18 and seems to be out and about more often these days. I suppose giving him my old car, having a job and going to college allows him some freedom once in a while. But what that does at dinner time, throws me off during the week. He wants to go hang out with his friends, and here I have a meal of four ready to be made - my OCD kills me...what am I going to do with that fourth portion (I have a family of four)?
     Well last weekend we were prepped for four New York steaks and four fat potatoes - and he wanted to go out with his best bud. I had no argument this time as I thought - hmmm, how about a steak bowl for breakfast with his chow. Done. And oh my goodness....

I cut up one potato into slices, then cut them up into little cubes.
Fried em up in some oil, added some Lawry's, garlic salt and some pepper.
Divided into four and put em aside.

I cut up the steak into little cubes, threw em around in a pan to heat them up, put aside.

I scrambled up eight eggs, and added a colby/jack mix of shredded cheese.

Layered as follows:

Bottom of bowl = fried potato cubes.
Mid bowl = scrambled eggs and cheese.
Top it off with the steak.
You could, of course, top that with some salsa, guacamole or sour cream ( I did not ).

My kids (as well as myself) - thought it was "Beast" (awesome!).

It's the simple things in life......

Excuse the pics, they are rather crap-a-doodle.


Monday, December 9, 2013


And it was to benfit cancer.

      Back in September my buddy Todd Hooper (tattooist and deviant do-gooder) invited me and my wife Saundra, to a charity event at his local tattoo shop, Ink Divine (San Pedro). The benefit was in honor of breast cancer awareness and the shop made an impressive donation of almost $3,000 when all was said and done.
      In the last year or so I have found myself more prone to cancer awareness than ever before. Granted, I lost my aunt to cancer many years ago and my sister is a survivor of colon cancer, but it was a little girl named Sarah that has opened my eyes wider in recent times. She is the nine year old daughter of an old friend of mine, Sandee, that was diagnonsed with leukemia in February of this year.  My entire family has been effected and we have done what we can, when we can, to help promote awareness.

     One of the vendors at the Ink Divine event was a well known foodie truck company called Tits N Tacos (an all-women staff of rock n rollers that donate proceeds to breast cancer, thus the name). All of their menu items are named after women. One look at the menu and my belly began to speak to me....”Feed me!!”....And so, I ordered. I bought myself a “Chola” (their mexican street taco) and a “Mary-Ann” (their go to chicken taco). Other items on the menu include “Betty Page”, “Monroe”, “Audrey Hapburn” and much more.
     The Chola was good.....the Mary-Ann blew the doors off my mouth and my brain. I took a bite and let the ranch and bacon pop in my mouth and melt like butter and than immediately stood in line to order another. The best chicken taco I have ever had? Quite possibly.... I knew at some point I had to try and recreate it. So,...last night I did.
     On a side note - I used flour tortillas for my recipe, TNT used corn. I think corn was better. Also, TNT used pico in their taco, I did not. They also used cotija cheese, I used colby jack.

THE MARY-ANN (bacon ranch chicken taco).
(serves 4-6).

4 boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half.
BBQ rub of your choice (I used Penzeys Galena Street, it’s awesome).
12 slices bacon - fried.
12 tortillas.
Jalapeno ranch dressing.
Shredded cheese.
Shredded lettuce.

1. Cut chicken breasts in half and put your rub on, let sit for a bit.

2. Heat up your grill.

3. Cook bacon till its crispy, set aside. Once cool, cut each slice in half.

4. Shred your lettuce.

5. Place chicken on your grill - cook 20-25 minutes depening on your grill and heat.

6. Once chicken is done, let cool for a bit and than cut into small chunks.

7. Heat tortillas.

8. Place chicken in tortillas, top with a line of the jalapeno ranch.

9. Put a half strip of bacon on either side of the chicken.

10. Add your lettuce and cheese, and fold.

Serve and enjoy !!

Help support my friends and visit these web-sites:

1. Todd Hooper and Ink Divine.

2. Tits N Tacos.

3. Sarah’s Fight.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Mouth watering treat for any occasion.

My wife posted one of those floating recipes on Facebook about a month ago - and simply commented “Please?”.....Well, I liked the way it looked and we had a family gathering coming up so I decided to give it a try. And, it rocked !!
With bacon being the uber-foodie craze at the moment, I’m sure plenty of people would like to give this a shot - once you do - it will be a keeper.


1.  - 15 slices bacon - cooked to crispy. Crumble when done.
(I used a pre-cooked box to avoid time and mess, personally these are damn good and you pay equal or less cash for it, no muss, no fuss).

2.  - Two  8oz pk’s of cream cheese, softened.

3. - One package of Hidden Valley ranch dip.

4. - 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack).


1. - Heat your bacon - fry until crispy, cool - and than crumble into small bits. Set aside.

2. - Mix the two packages of cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer, till smooth.

3. - Add ranch mix into cream cheese and mix well.

4. - Add your shredded cheese and mix well.

5. - Add HALF of your crumbled bacon into the cheese mix, mix well.

6.  - Put your other half of bacon on a small plate and set aside.

7. - With your hands mold the cream cheese mix into a large ball.

8 - Roll the ball onto the plate of bacon, evenly - and cover the entire ball with bacon bits.

9 - Store the ball on a small plate in the fridge. Cool for at least two hours.

10. Serve with crackers or similar snack.

11. Get out of the way !! Once this bad ass ball of munchy greatness hits the first mouth, all bets are off.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


    Look like a master chef on a budget and a whim.

    My mother n’ law just recently had a birthday. The wife and I proposed dinner at our place for the gift of food and family. When asked what she wanted, she could not say, or, would not say. I jokingly told her “OK, Spaghettio’s it is.” After some thought I decided on some chicken alfredo. It was on a week night after work so I didn’t have a lot of money but still wanted to do something nice, elequent, filling and tasteful. And I didn’t want a traditional chicken alfredo, so I decided to grill the chicken. With lack of time, six mouths to feed and being on a slim budget (who isn’t during the holidays?), I decided to make the chicken the star of the meal and went with pre-made pasta and sauce. So we’re talking a pretty easy meal here - but with the looks and taste of a gourmet night out.
     My foodie brother, Lonny gave me a gift a couple months back of Billy Bones BB rub and I thought let’s try some of the bad boy on chicken (it has worked nicely on beef so far)....well, it was great. I also marinated the chicken in some Italian dressing - a little known secret my brother turned me onto many years ago. This method not only tastes really good but it makes your chicken extremely juicy and soft to the chew.
     The key here, and always, for a family meal is timing, getting everything done at the same time. It is another reason I chose this particular meal - you can do all these separate things at once and pretty much have them done in the same amount of time. The end result is an eye appealing dish that everyone will love for a family on a budget.
     My decision to cut the breasts before plating them, made the dish look even better.

(serves 6)

2 - packs fettucini pasta noodles
2 - 15oz bottles of alfredo sauce  (I used Rinaldi for this meal)
1 - medium bottle of Italian dressing (I used Wish Bone for this meal)
6 - boneless chicken breasts
Rub of your choice (I used Billy Bones for this meal)

Marinate breasts in a ziplock bag for at leats 2 hours, with full contents of a medium Italian dressing bottle.

After done with marinating coat your chicken with your rub and set aside. Don’t fret on the marinade - this combination actually goes extremely well with the alfredo once they mix together. The taste is wonderful !

Light your bbq and prepare coals, make sure to grease your grill as chicken likes to stick.
You want your coals grey - medium to high heat for the chicken.

Prepare your noodles according to package, I also like to add a spoon of salt and a spoon of oil to the pot.

Put your chicken on the grill - 15 minutes (give or take depending on your coals) should be about right, I like to turn over about every 3 minutes, to keep an even grill and prevent any charring or sticking.

When chicken is done let it cool for a couple minutes, than slice it from head to toe (see picture) - this is a nice touch for the beauty of the plate and makes cutting the chicken and noodles much easier and the tast will flow together.

While chicken is cooling go ahead and heat up your sauce (low heat and make sure to pay attention, as the sauce likes to boil up and out of the pan).

Drain your noodles and plate.
Top each plate with equal portion of sauce.
Top with your cliced chicken.

I added some dinner rolls and a salad to this particualr meal.
The presentation was beautiful, the meal was extremely filling and my mother n’ law loved me more than she did before she walked through the door.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Closed Door and Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts

My last post was over a week ago. I have been wanting to write but my thoughts haven't come together enough in my mind to form a post. Sigh! Like I said previously, I cannot chose when to write a post. The post chooses me. One would think, that a one day trip to Chicago for work, on a Tuesday, that even included a solo lunch break visit to Navy Pier would make for an interesting story. Alas, not for me. So I patiently waited for the moment to come to me when I could write again.
    I began today, Thanksgiving Day 2013, with a 5K run. What a great way to begin a day and what a great story for a blogpost. One would think, anyway! As I was driving back home from the run, I willed my mind to think, to form words that I could put on paper. Should be easy right? Not for me. But I didn't have too much time to dwell on whether I would blog or not. I had to get Thanksgiving dinner ready.           
Once I had put my apron on, turned on the music and popped the turkey into the oven, I started working on the sides. The first side I made was Dijon braised Brussels sprouts. I began by slicing the sprouts. This act of slicing the sprouts put me in a zen state of mind. It is when my mind is in such a state that a post is usually born. I could feel my mind going into blogpost writing mode. I started thinking back to the last time I had made this dish. In my mind's eye, the season when I had last made this dish looked like Spring. Or was it last Fall? I could not decide which. So I decide to focus on the bigger picture and think of what was significant about the last time I made this dish. I could feel myself walking through the halls of my memories and trying to push open the door to the room which held memories from that evening for me. But alas, that door would not open. As I moved on to browning the sprouts on the cut side, I forced myself to push harder against the door to open it. But I had family visiting and a six year old niece to chat with, so an unopened door would just have to wait. Sometimes it may be best to leave a closed door just stay so anyway!
            Turkey coma must have gotten the better of me on Thanksgiving day as I was typing this post, because here I am two days later trying to wrap up this post. In case you are curious, I did not sleep two days straight. While I am capable of it, it is just that I am finding time this evening to write again. We just finished decorating the house for Christmas. That always leaves me feeling so warm and happy. A perfect time to write. And in order to just maintain this happy state of mind, I am not going to try to force open any closed memory doors.
             I began today with a 5 mile walk along Katy trail. I have so much to share on that but those thoughts do not belong in this post. They need a post of their own. I will conclude this post by saying just how thankful I am for everything in my life. I hope you are having a wonderful and blessed holiday season as well. My hugs and good wishes go out to those having a rough time this holiday season or those who are away from home.

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 to 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Trim sprouts and halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy 12-inch skillet heat butter and oil over moderate heat. Arrange halved sprouts in skillet, cut sides down, in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook sprouts, without turning until undersides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. [Updated to note: If your sprouts don't fit in one layer, don't fret! Brown them in batches, then add them all back to the pan, spreading them as flat as possible, before continuing with the shallots, wine, etc.]
Add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low (for a gentle simmer), cover the pot with a lid (foil works too, if your skillet lacks a lid) and cook the sprouts until they are tender can be pierced easily with the tip of a paring knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and scoop out brussels (leaving the sauce behind). Add cream and simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in mustard. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary with more salt, pepper or Dijon. Pour sauce over brussels, sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.