Monthly Archives: August 2010

El Chico’s Dressing

There is a Mexican Restaurant in Shreveport, Louisiana called El Chico’s.  Shreveport is the only location that makes this dressing.  It’s very versatile; you can eat it with chips, add it to your taco salad, tacos, fajitas, and much more.

1/2 – 3/4 cup of Miracle Whip Salad Dressing (do not use real mayo)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1  1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup of milk

Mix all together and chill at least 2 hours. The mixture will thicken when chilled.



Filed under Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Mexican

Southern Style Strawberry Cake – Happy Birthday Brady!

Picture by Sweets by Patty Pinner

Picture by Sweets by Patty Pinner

As it gets close to my son Brady’s birthday, I’m already thinking about baking him a Strawberry Cake – his favorite!  I found this wonderful recipe and my goodness, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s from Sweets by Patty Pinner cookbook.


1 (18.5 ounce) box white cake mix (without pudding)

1 (3 ounce) package strawberry jello

1 Tablespoon self rising flour

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cake, combine to cake mix, Jello, flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Add the oil.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the water and strawberries and mix well.  Divide the batter evenly into three 8-inch round baking pans that have been oiled and floured.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the layers pull away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer the layers from the oven to wire racks.  Let them cool, still in their pans, for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan, then unmold each layer onto the racks to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

2 (1 pound) boxes powdered sugar

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

pink food coloring

4 sliced strawberries

To make the frosting, in a bowl combine the cream cheese and butter.  Beat until soft.  Add one box of the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Beat until incorporated.  Add the second box of sugar and mix until incorporated.  If you would like a smoother consistency, add a dash of milk.

Put the coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle with two or three drops of pink food coloring.  Mix to distribute the color and wash hands immediately.  Once the cake is frosted, decorate the top of the cake with the shredded coconut and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!  Happy Birthday Brady!

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Filed under Autumn, Cakes, Celebration, Dessert, Holiday, Spring, Summer, Winter

Brie and Pear Panini – extraordinarily good

Do you have a Panini press?  I highly recommend you get one – it takes your sandwiches to the next level.  The delicious combination of warm brie, pear, honey and arugula on ciabatta makes this one of my favorite sandwiches.

Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread (or 8 slices country bread)  Also good on sourdough bread.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces Taleggio cheese or brie, sliced
  • 2 large pears, apples or peaches, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces arugula or spinach or you could use my favorite, Arugula Pesto Mayo (see recipe below)

Preheat the Panini machine. Cut the ciabatta loaf into 4 equal pieces.  Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil.   Slice the pear or fruit of your choice.

Begin forming the sandwiches. Divide the cheese among the bread. Cover the cheese with slices of fruit. Drizzle the fruit with honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with arugula. Place the top half of the bread over the arugula and put the competed sandwich on the Panini machine golden brown and the cheese is  melting.  Cut the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

Arugula Pesto Mayo

3  cups arugula, packed
1/4  cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup  olive oil
3 1/2  tablespoons mayo
sea salt and black pepper

Mix all ingredients in the food processor.  You will have some left over for more sandwiches – yum!

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Filed under Autumn, Breads, Breakfast, Cheese, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Entree, Salad, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer, Winter

Cheese Spread – great for football season

If you are looking for an easy, delicious cheese spread for a special gathering, this is a great one.

1  1/2 – 8 ounce packages  Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
5 ounces bleu cheese
1 jar Kraft Old English Cheese
1 tablespoon  green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl combine the above ingredients.  It’s best if you mix with a spoon – you really don’t want to whip this one.  Be sure to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Great with Bremner or Ritz crackers.

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Filed under Louisiana / Cajun

Grilled Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Banana Sandwich

Ella Franks Bryan - almost 3

This is one of Ella’s favorite sandwiches.

2 slices good quality bread

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature

peanut butter, smooth

Red Plum jam   (you can use any flavor, but Ella loves Red Plum jam)

1 ripe bananas, sliced

You know how to put the sandwich together – a little jelly goes a long way with this sandwich.  Grill as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. Place each buttered  sandwich on a preheated Panini press until the bread is toasted to a golden brown.  If you don’t have a Panini press, you can use a non stick skillet. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Autumn, Breakfast, Dessert, Entree, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Soup, Spring, Summer, Winter

Jalapeno – Cilantro Soup – a rich and creamy pepper bisque

You know how much I love avocados – they make this soup extra special.   So easy to make.  Excellent served in bread bowls.

1⁄2 tablespoon unsalted butter

5 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

3⁄4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, peeled and diced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

8 cups heavy cream (use the highest fat content available)

Kosher salt

dash of nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped

Crispy Tortilla chips (strips)

In a large stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat. Sauté the jalapeños, onions, and garlic for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the peppers turn soft. Remove from the heat and add the avocado, tomatoes, and cream. Lower the heat, then return the pot to heat, stirring constantly so the cream doesn’t separate.
Slowly bring the soup back to a simmer, reduce by about 30%, stirring often to prevent scorching or sticking. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, add the cilantro, reserving about 1 teaspoon cilantro per serving for garnish. Sprinkle with the reserved cilantro and crunchy Tortilla chips (strips).


Filed under Autumn, Celebration, Entree, Mexican, Soup, Spring, Summer, Winter

Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce and Avocado Enchiladas

I made these enchiladas for my book club last night and they really enjoyed them.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to share.  If you make this recipe, maybe you can share your picture with me?

Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce

  • ½ yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves – rough chopped
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup tequila
  • ½ bunch cilantro plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt

In a small pot, add 1 stick butter and chopped onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Next add 1 cup tequila.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced by about 75%.  Add to same pot ½ bunch of fresh cilantro (stems and all) and 1 pint of heavy whipping cream. For best results, don’t substitute for regular milk.  Continue to cook (without scorching) until 25% reduced – sauce will begin to thicken (10-15 minutes).  Now pour contents into a strainer or chinoise. I use a colander with small holes. Add juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon butter.

Avocado Mix

It’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE avocados.

  • 3 avocados
  • ¼ red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 plum tomato chopped
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Salt

Take 3 ripe avocados – ripe ones are squeezable, not mushy.  Cut the avocados in half, carefully remove the seed and scoop the delicious avocado out of the skin with a spoon into a bowl.  Add ¼ red onion finely chopped, 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 plum tomato, chopped, and the juice of ½ lime.  Mash all ingredients until there are no large pieces – add salt to taste.


  • White or yellow corn tortillas
  • Queso Fresco cheese
  • Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
  • Avocado mixture
  • Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce

Use white or yellow corn tortillas – flour tortillas don’t work very well, they get mushy.  Warm up a couple tortillas at a time so they are easier to roll and don’t break up.  (I just use a dry skillet.)  Lay a tortilla out in front of you and scoop 1/3 cup of guacamole and lay it down the center of the tortilla, add 1 tablespoon cilantro lime cream sauce and 1 teaspoon of grated Queso Fresco cheese.  Roll it up and place it in a baking dish folded side down.  Continue doing this until the pan is full or guacamole is used up.  Pour a light amount of the cream sauce over the rolled enchiladas and add grated monetary jack cheese on top, place in a 375° oven until the sauce begins to bubble a bit (maybe 10-15 minutes max).  Remove from oven.  Next pour some more of the sauce over them and sprinkle with Queso Fresco Cheese.  Enjoy!

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Filed under Cheese, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Entree, Mexican, Side Dishes / Vegetables