Category Archives: recipes

Hubby is in the kitchen!

Hubby made Garrett Weber-Gale’s Shrimp Etouffee (Garrett’s recipe below) and WOW!  This is so good!

Oh Dang!

This Shrimp Etouffee is good!!!!


Brown rice

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

2 cloves minced garlic

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoon Garrett’s Kickin’ Spice

1 1/2 cup diced & peeled tomatoes

2lbs shrimp

3tbs chopped green onion

2tbs flat leaf parsley


Melt butter in a medium to large size pot.  Create a roux by mixing the butter and flour thoroughly so that there are no clumps. Your roux will be used for thickening and for creating a smoky/nutty flavor. Keep stirring. A darker roux is often used for gumbos. I use a roux that is between the color of the yellow butter and the darkness of peanut butter.  This step may take anywhere from 10 minutes to as many as 20.

Next, chop and add the celery, onion, and green pepper. Cook these until they have become soft. Add one tablespoon of my Kickin’ Spice.   Add minced garlic. Notice the great aroma as you then add tomatoes. Mix all ingredients and bring to soft boil and simmer. Add two cups of chicken stock. Once this has come to temperature (easy boil), add the shrimp and one more tablespoon of Kickin’ Spice. Once the shrimp have started to turn pink and curl, add the chopped parsley and chopped green onion. Simmer on low for ten minutes.

Makes four servings.

Now serve this delicious southern favorite with Brown Rice.  Enjoy!!!

Garrett’s Kickin’ Spice:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake

1 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

I do love to cook

I do love to cook (when I don’t have a slew of  projects I’m trying to complete).  There is satisfaction in being in the kitchen and preparing new (and some tried and true ‘old’) dishes.  It gives me pleasure – and when the dishes turn out to be very good (which a surprising number do) – it gives DH pleasure also!

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”
Julia Child

I love eggplant . . .


Makes 6 Servings

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs


Slice 6 half-inch rounds from the widest part of each eggplant (12 total); reserve. Cut the skin off the remaining pieces of eggplant and cut into a small dice; reserve.
In a hot sauté pan, with a few drips of olive oil, cook the eggplant slices, with a pinch of salt, for about 3 minutes per side to soften. Work in batches and when done place them on paper towels to cool. The paper will absorb the excess juice drawn out by the salt (these juices can be bitter).

While the eggplant slices are cooling, add the ricotta, Parmesan, Jack cheese to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Spoon the cheese mixture on to 6 of the eggplant slices, dividing evenly. Press the other 6 eggplant slices on top to sandwich the cheese in between; reserve.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the saute pan, and over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until it begins to sizzle (do not brown). Add the diced eggplant and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the water, tomato sauce, and pepper flakes; cook on low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour half the sauce mixture on the bottom of a small casserole dish. Place the 6 cheese-filled eggplant slices on the sauce, and pour over the rest of the sauce. Spread evenly so all the eggplant is covered. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, and 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread over the eggplant.

Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F. for 40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is browned and crisp. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

[Eggplant will soak up 17.4  times its own weight in oil!]

Key Lime Pudding Cakes

If I make these ramekin cakes again, I will make a sauce to drizzle over the inverted cakes that are on  plates.  I just think a sweet sauce will be a welcome addition – although we really liked this dessert!

Three-Cheese-Stuffed Red and Yellow Peppers

may be too browned for Hubby (but I like the crunchy!)

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad


4 cups of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped into bite size
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 tsp of fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
Coarse kosher salt to taste
¼ cup orange juice
1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 cups of your favorite lettuce (combined arugula and romaine is good)
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup of feta cheese


Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss butternut squash, olive oil, rosemary, and crushed red pepper on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 15 minutes.  Remove squash from oven and flip them around a bit before popping back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so.  You are looking for the squash to begin browning and to become nice and tender.
(The squash can be made up to two hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

While the squash is baking, whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, and oil together.  Season with some salt and pepper and set aside.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, combine the lettuce, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts and lightly toss in the dressing. Spoon warm or room temperature squash over the top of the salad and sprinkle with feta cheese.  Enjoy!!

Serves 4.

We really liked the butternut squash; however it would have been less trouble to use Mandarin oranges and the salad would have been just as good.

Good salad!

Maple Parsnip Soup

Maple Parsnip Soup

“I had never tasted parsnips before I received a few pounds of them in my  co-op farm share. I made this soup, and I think I will forever be in love with the parsnip!” says contributor Alison Froese-Stoddard. A tester adds, “This was a unique and excellent soup. The mustard-maple syrup combination adds the perfect sweet and spicy flavors.”  [Simply in Season cookbook by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert]

“This cookbook reflects a commitment to eat what is in season. Enjoy the flavors and gifts of this book.” — Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet)

Serves 8

• 3 tablespoons  butter (can use part olive oil)
Melt in a heavy-bottomed soup pot until beginning to brown.

• 1 pound / 500 g parsnips (chopped)
• 2 medium  onions (chopped)
• 2 cloves garlic (minced)
Add and saute until onions are translucent but not brown.

• 6 cups / 1.5 L chicken or vegetable broth
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Add and  bring to a simmer. Cook until parsnips are soft, 40 minutes.

• 1/2 cup / 125 ml evaporated milk
Add and remove from heat. Pour into blender and puree until velvety smooth.

• 1/3 cup / 75 ml maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or more for a spicier taste)
• salt to taste
Stir in. Serve garnished with 3/4 cup / 175 ml toasted pine nuts or other nuts.

Thanks to cousin Chris Smith for sharing this recipe.

It is absolutely delicious!

Gingerbread Cake with Fresh Orange Glaze

Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole


Prep time: 50 minutes
Freezing time: overnight – two months
Baking time: 90 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish servings for a big dinner


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (don’t skimp on these)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock or boullion
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed


  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, stems trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch


  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups (about 3 ounces) canned fried onions, chopped

SAUCE –  In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat til melted. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute. Sprinkle the mushrooms with flour and stir in as best you can. A tablespoon at a time, stir in the chicken stock, letting each tablespoon become absorbed before adding another. (This will take several minutes, be patient or you’ll risk a lumpy mess.) Stir in the wine and cream. Bring to a boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It should be slightly salty and slightly peppery since the beans themselves are unseasoned.)

BEANS –  While the sauce cooks, toss the beans and cornstarch well. Transfer to a 9×13 ceramic baking dish. Pour hot mushroom sauce over top. Gently press beans into the sauce so that all the beans are submerged. Cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure there’s no air between the beans and the plastic. Wrap with foil. Freeze. Do not thaw before baking.

TOPPING –  No more than a day before, mix the panko, butter, salt and pepper in a skillet. On medium heat, let the crumbs brown, stirring often, being careful not to burn. Stir in the fried onions.

BAKING –  Preheat oven to 400F. IMPORTANT: remove plastic wrap from casserole, then replace the foil. Bake for 30 minutes, stir, leave the foil off and bake for another 50 minutes. (If the sauce is too thin, leave in oven, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until it thickens.) Spread topping over the casserole, bake for another 10 minutes until golden.

Great Falls Potatoes

potatoesGreat Falls Potatoes

8-10 medium potatoes, peeled

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup chopped chives

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

Paprika to taste

  • Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover in a saucepan 30 minutes or until tender; drain and mash.
  • Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; add potatoes, sour cream, and next 4 ingredients.  Beat just until blended.
  • Spoon mixture into a lightly buttered, 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Cover and chill overnight.
  • Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serves 6 to 8