In my mind Memorial weekend kicks off the start of summer. Barbecues, boating and the start of a whole new menu that includes some cold salads I haven’t seen in months. They’re like old friends, especially this Pesto Tortellini Salad — even though I haven’t seen you in months, we just pick up right where we left off. My 9 year old neighbor told me summer starts on June 9 at exactly 12 p.m. — the day and time she gets out of school for the summer which to her means long days of playing outside, keeping a vigil for the ice cream truck and staying up a little later at night. Who could argue with that?
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It’s rare when the lake is as flat as it is today ~ I’m talking hardly a ripple. It’s a great day to be out on the boat and today we’re going fishing, which, for me is actually code for paging through a good book or one of the junk magazines the grocery stores stock near the checkout. They get me every time. My husband could fish every day he likes it so much but for me, it’s more about relaxing and enjoying the view or the spray of lake water on my face when we’re cruising. Even though the calendar says May, temps in our area are fickle, early mornings and evenings are still chilly. So when I knew we were heading out early, I wanted a beverage to keep me warm and thought about a thermos of coffee but then I remembered the NEW TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® Pods that came in the mail. I wish I had taken a picture of the box they came in ~ beautifully wrapped with a big orange bow but in my excitement, I ripped it open, Christmas-morning style and the remnants were not pretty. Anyway. . .back to “fishing” ~ even though the boat is docked behind our house so there’s no travel time involved, when the captain says the boat is leaving the dock at 8 a.m. ~ the boat is leaving the dock at 8 a.m., so if making this Chai Latte was time consuming, well . . .
I was in self-imposed hibernation over the last several months ~ sub-zero temps will do that to you. Snow and icy roads seal the deal. Now that the weather is warming up, so is my interest in getting out more often. That’s why I’m excited to participate with Eventbrite’s the GOMO – going out more often -campaign. GOMO is the new trend this year. Forget FOMO, a fever most of us have suffered from. It’s so yesterday — or even YOLO – which I once used to convince my husband to buy a boat — it worked — not that it was a tough sale. GOMO is about saying yes to going out more, having a great time and making the most of our life and who doesn’t want to do that?
I’m not sure where my love of Mexican dips started but it’s definitely in full force and I can’t imagine it ever going away. When our kids were small many Saturday nights were spent with our neighbors and their kids ~ 4 girls total. For the adults Margaritas and a layered Mexican dip ~ refried beans, full fat sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce and salsa. So much yummy goodness. The girls’ favorite meal was French fries and dino-nuggets. Even today get-togethers aren’t the same without some kind of dip. The one I’m sharing today is a Chicken Salsa Verde Dip Recipe which is the last recipe in the Same Ingredients/Different Results series. The series is over, but stick around ~ next week and throughout the summer we’ll be fishing and grilling and, well ~ you’ll just have to come back!
My husband isn’t always on board new recipes. “(insert sigh). . .can’t you just make it the way you always do?” so when he asked what’s for dinner, I reluctantly told him Chicken Enchilada Soup because in his food world there are very specific rules: Chicken Soup should only have a clear broth and lots of noodles, carrots and celery. Enchiladas should only be filled with beef and ‘other stuff’, rolled up with sauce and cheese on top. I offered to make him a hamburger instead, but he soldiered up and ladled a bowl of 20 Minute Chicken Enchilada Soup. I watched, literally astonished as he ate his soup along with a flour tortilla . . one bowl. . .and then another. He liked it. This soup reminds me of one my daughters and I really like from one of the chain restaurants at the local mall called Tortilla Soup. . . except it doesn’t have beans or corn. Maybe it’s not so much like it after all, but it’s really tasty, spicy and cheesy. We get a side of soft pretzel stix to go with it, which comes with white cheddar queso for dipping. Cheese + cheese = heaven in my mouth.
I know you stopped by for a Shrimp Quesadillas recipe ~ the first of two recipes this week for Same Ingredients/Different Results and I swear I’ll get to it but it’s time I come clean. I’m about as tech-challenged as they come. My kids know it and they’ll eagerly vouch for my inadequacy, but if you feel you need further verification, you can ask the ever-patient Michele at Brave Creative Designs the woman who recently designed my new logo and will also vouch for it. Michele set up this fabulous new logo on my blog then emailed me the logo to use on other things, like Facebook and Instagram. . .hello Michele? It’s me again. . .
I’ve been a grilled cheese sandwich eater pretty much all my life. You could put virtually any kind of cheese between two pieces of bread and grill it and I’ll be in comfort food heaven. When I was in high school, lunchtime meant driving to my friend Joan’s house and either opening cans of Chef Boyardee Ravioli or getting out the skillet and making classic grilled cheese sandwiches ~ white bread with slices of orange cheese from cellophane wrappers. Because we’d
chat gossip while the sandwiches cooked, they were routinely a bit darker than most would consider edible. We’d dip those toasted sandwiches with orange cheese oozing out the side into a pile of ketchup ~ mmmm delicious. To some the ketchup thing defies logic. To me, it’s still the only way to eat a ‘classic’ grilled cheese. My husband isn’t a ketchup eater at all and would probably eat the cellophane the cheese came in before he’d eat ketchup. This Steak Sandwich Recipe is his idea of a grilled cheese – gooey, cheesy and packed with flavorful steak and sauteed peppers and onions. You know the meateaters’ motto ~ ‘there’s plenty of room for God’s creatures. . .right next to the mashed potatoes’.
We’re into Week #2 of Same Ingredients/Different Results. I’m not sure how a week passed already but the calendar says it has. This week we’re going Beef. . .All Beef and if your husband is like mine, a card-carrying carnivore who craves animal protein in every meal, Grilled Flank Steak will make you look like a super-hero.
Saturday we celebrated my husband’s birthday in the way we love best ~ having the family over and chowing on lots of great food. We used to celebrate birthdays at a restaurant but discovered it’s a lot more fun at home. Everyone (except the birthday boy or girl) brings something and we end up with a drool-worthy spread. The best part though is the time spent together and the laughs we share. The resident comedian these days is our 2 year old grandson who entertains us without even trying. The menu is designed around the birthday boy or girl’s preferences. My husband wanted barbecue ribs which he insisted on making himself. It was his birthday, so we shook our heads and indulged him. In typical fashion, we made way too much food starting with the appetizers, followed by the entrée and all the sides and of course birthday cake for dessert. The result was plenty of leftover food. My husband’s favorite lines ~ “are you trying to kill me?”(I think he’s referring to the quantity of food) and “who else is coming for dinner?” were repeated several times. I like to think I have a knack for reinventing meals out of seemingly nothing, but barbecued ribs are, well. . .barbecued ribs. The next day they’re still. . .barbecued ribs, reheated. My habit of making too much food is part of the inspiration behind Same Ingredients/Different Results ~ two different meals without wasted ingredients. The other was my daughter, Lauren who loves to cook, but because she’s single, doesn’t want to make a big batch of something and eat the same leftovers all week. Tuesday I made Hasselback Chicken – juicy, cheesy spinach chicken breast with enough to use in the recipe for this Cheesy Chicken Tomato Spinach Pasta. Don’t let the long name scare you off. It’s easy ~ perfect for weeknights but fancy enough to entertain with.