Shrimp Quesadillas

Shrimp Quesadillas from Betty Crocker

Remember those days in our ancient history, when all we had to rely on for recipes our own memories, passed down recipe cards, or recipe books? The days of food websites, blogs, and Pinterest decades ahead?

The first recipe book I bought when I moved to the US, was from Betty Crocker. It was in binder format, and I used it so much that pages of the flimsy paper fell out every time I opened it, from the metal rings having ripped through the paper holes.  

This is one of the gems that I have held on to through the years. Incredibly easy, and  delicious. Yes, I know it uses bottled bacon bits, but you can obviously change that. Consider the source- we are lucky there is no cream-of-something soup in this recipe.

Shrimp Quesadillas

Shepherd’s Pie with mashed carrot potatoes

I have a deep love for shepherd’s pie. All though there are many, MANY kinds of foods I love to put in my mouth- when it comes down to it, I am a meat-and-potatoes girl.
There are a few Shepherd’s pie recipes I love (including one vegetarian one!), and you can bet your Dutch oven that I will be posting more over time. I made this one again just yesterday, and it deserves first share here. In my experience it’s hard to mess up a Shepherd’s pie, but this one is especially tasty with the brief bay leaf moment in the meat mixture, and the carrots in the potatoes.

Shepherd’s Pie from Southern Living

Last night I made my usual adjustments to make it gluten and dairy free for the boy, and they are reflected in the recipe below. The biggest adjustments I made were the mashed carrots and potatoes. The original recipe uses FROZEN POTATOES and am not even going to point out how wrong this is. Enjoy!

I doubled the recipe again, thought it is a bit more work with the extra potato and carrot peeling, it’s completely worth it, as I was able to actually split the second batch into two 8×8″ oven trays, making it two more meals instead of just one.

Shepherd’s Pie

My adjusted version (gluten & dairy free)

Shepherd's Pie with mashed carrot potatoes
Shepherd's pie adjusted to be gluten & dairy free, and fresher ingredients.
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1680 calories
208 g
241 g
58 g
95 g
24 g
2511 g
6400 g
42 g
3 g
26 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1680
Calories from Fat 519
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 58g
Saturated Fat 24g
Trans Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 22g
Cholesterol 241mg
Sodium 6400mg
Total Carbohydrates 208g
Dietary Fiber 39g
Sugars 42g
Protein 95g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3/4 pounds ground beef
  2. 1 chopped onion
  3. 1/2 (8-oz.) package fresh mushrooms, sliced (I didn't add these because of the husband, but I suggest you do)
  4. 1 garlic clove, minced
  5. 2 cup frozen vegetable mix, thawed
  6. 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules (I could only find the cubes, so I used two of those)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  9. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  10. 1 tablespoon all-purpose gluten free
  11. 1 (14 1/2-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  12. 1 bay leaf
  13. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  14. 1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2" slices
  15. 1 tablespoon dairy free butter
  16. 1 lb potatoes, peeled & quartered
  17. 2 cups broth (or whatever needed, I usually wing this part)
  18. 1 teaspoon salt
  19. 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  1. 1 Brown beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove ground beef from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. 2 Sauté onion, mushrooms, and garlic in hot drippings over medium heat 10 to 11 minutes or until tender. Stir in ground beef, vegetables, and next 4 ingredients. Sprinkle flour over meat mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and vinegar. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-qt. baking dish or pan.
  1. 3 Cover potatoes and carrots together in water. Boil for 20 minutes.
  2. 4 Stir in butter & broth. Coarsely mash carrots with a potato masher.
  3. 5 Spoon Carrot Mashed Potatoes evenly over meat mixture, smoothing with back of spoon.
  4. 6 Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated, shielding with aluminum foil after 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
Adapted from Southern Living
Adapted from Southern Living
Fresh Kitchen


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Sausage and Chicken Gumbo by Cooking Light

Aw hell, it’s still Valentines Weekend, so I may as well just post another recipe that makes my husband “the lucky bastard” love me more.

This recipe uses frozen okra. I am fine with using frozen okra if it’s not in season. If it’s in season though, USE THE FRESH OKRA or I will block you from this website.

It’s been a long time since I have made this recipe! So clearly I haven’t loved him enough lately. I better shape up.

Chicken and sausage gumbo

Buffalo chicken soup with orzo

Buffalo Chicken Soup with Orzo by Bake Your Day

It’s Valentines day, so I will post one of the favorite things I have cooked for my love.

There is nothing healthy about this recipe. I haven’t looked it up, but I am sure the sodium is through the roof, fattening, and any vitamins will be hard to find, though maybe there is one floating around behind that chunk of blue cheese? No, this is one cooked for love- and that’s all the nutrition we need sometimes, isn’t it?


My Soup


This soup is everything buffalo and more. Go on, you know you want some of this.

Buffalo chicken soup with orzo

Black Bean Cakes

Black Bean Cakes from Cooking Light

Another vegetarian one out of the favorite archives. My kid is absolutely addicted to these. Every time I ask him “guess what I’m making for you this week,” he first answers “BLACK BEAN CAKES!!” before he rattles off his other favorites until he gets it right. He’s the gluten free one of the family, so I make my own gluten free breadcrumbs for this instead of using the panko, by leaving gluten free bread out to make it stale (or toasting it until dry) and pulverizing those in the food processor.

If you are making these, I will say- practice makes perfect. The consistently of the mix you will have to shape into patties can end up pretty wet, so can be hard to shape into patties. Making more, smaller patties helps, and also using more breadcrumbs or panko to dredge them in has helped me.

Black bean cakes

My adjustments:
– double the panko for dredging
– I have made this many times without the additional fried eggs & salad. If you plan to do the same, reduce recipe to 1-tbsp canola and 1-egg, and none of the salad ingredients.

West African Peanut Soup

West African Peanut Soup by Cookie + Kate

This is a vegan recipe that is UNREAL! I sure love my meats, but in moderation- and I love having a good stock of vegetarian & vegan recipes to keep in regular rotation. I just realized it’s been far too long since I made this soup, and so I am going to immediately add it to the menu for next week.
If you like peanut butter, you will LOVE this. Hell, if you like to eat, you will LOVE this.

West African Peanut Soup

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Sam’s Pulled Pork Sandwich- King Arthur Flour

 You can’t really go wrong with slow cooker pulled pork recipes in my experience, but this one is worth special mention. This recipe takes it all the way through making your own buns and barbecue sauce to go along with the pork. I only took it as far as making the pulled pork, and then using pre made buns and barbecue sauce, and I may or may not even have bought pre-chopped cole slaw.  


My Pulled Pork Sandwich

Though my picture is not a very charming one (I’d rather spend the time eating, I know you can’t blame me), what you see here is an insanely delicious pulled pork sandwich. The recipe made plenty for two batches of pork to be frozen for future sandwiches, or mixing into other recipes. 

Sam’s pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw

Mock Moussaka

I am not sure why this is called a “mock” moussaka, but from looking around at other moussaka recipes, I imagine it’s because typically there is a lot of prep work that goes into making a typical one. This guy is put together so quickly, and oh man- it’s crazy delicious. I couldn’t find a picture of it along with the recipe, but that just means I will have to make it again soon so I can take my own to post here with it! 

This is yet another dish that’s great for cooking ahead, by either splitting one recipe in two by making it in two smaller pans instead, or just doubling the recipe and freezing the second for basically hardly any extra work.

Mock Moussaka 

Lasagna Love

Lasagna Cucina-

I am a huge fan of one dish meals. Though I am not big into pasta, I have some serious love for lasagna. I have tried quite a few lasagna recipes over time, and these two are by far my favorites.

As I mentioned before, with a baby on my hip most of my waking hours these days, I have gotten into the habit of cooking mostly meals that I can double to I can make one and freeze another. With lasagna, I don’t even need to double it, but just make it in two 8×8 inch pans.

Lasagna Cucina


Classic Lasagna- Southern Living

Then there is this Classic Lasagna. The first lasagna calls for Italian sausage, where this one is made with ground beef. The flavors in this one are amazing too.

Classic Lasagna

Buon appetito!