Category Archives: TOMATOES

Beef Vegetable Skillet

This recipe is a great use for ALL those garden vegetables!  Some of you know what I mean….it’s August, and you’re tired of dealing with the garden, but the pesky things won’t stop growing!  If you have something else you need to use, just toss it in.

Beef Vegetable Skillet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 C beef stock
  • 1½ C uncooked bow-tie pasta
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ C chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 C chopped yellow squash
  • 1 chopped banana pepper
  • ½ C frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 C chopped tomatoes
  • 1 C shredded Mild Cheddar Jack cheese
  1. Brown ground beef with onion powder in large skillet; drain.
  2. Add beef stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in seasonings and vegetables.
  6. Add pasta and return to a boil.
  7. Lower heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  8. Place cheese on top of mixture.
  9. Remove heat and let skillet set 5 minutes while cheese melts before serving.



Music to Cook By . . . 


Until next time, Happy Cooking!  :)

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker


Good morning!!! And I do mean morning.  It’s 4 a.m. as I’m writing this.  One of the joys of insomnia is that I can sit in the utter quiet of the early morning and contemplate the joys of okra.  Yep, you read that one right; I said okra.  I find that of all the vegetables,  okra is probably the most maligned of all vegetables.  It is also the one of which family fights are made.  I mean, no one is just “meh” regarding okra.  You either love it, or you want to shoot the person who put it on the table.  Now, I’m a versatile foodie. That’s a polite way of saying I’ll eat anything at least once, which could explain my dress size.  But Jorge?  Not so much.  So I really think he felt last night that he took one for the team by trying this recipe.  But he lived through it, and the beautiful thing about it is, he doesn’t know it yet, but some of the leftover okra made it into his lunch container for today.  ROFL!!!!!  Aaahhh…..I wish I could be a fly on the wall when he makes that discovery.  But, I disgress.  I am always on a quest to introduce new vegetables into our diet, as well as new ways of cooking vegetables.  We can only eat corn so many times a week, you know?  So, I decided to try this recipe, and I thought it was good.  Yeah, it was a little slimy as okra usually is, but the celery in the mixture kept it crunchy, so the trick is to always get a bite of celery with a bite of okra.  As a matter of fact, you might want to use a little more celery than I used to get a little more crunch.  But not too much, or you’ll be serving Celery Creole, which is just weird.
In case you’re wondering, Creole cuisine, which I think almost everyone knows originated in Louisiana, combines the influences of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, African, and Native American cooking.  The main difference between Creole and the possibly more popular Cajun cooking is that Creole cuisine evolved more in the kitchens of the more affluent and the pre-Civil War plantations.  And, like so many other types of cooking, some of it is good, and some of it must have been a kitchen experiment gone bad.
Which brings us back to okra.  A lot of people, especially in the South, will eat okra if it has been breaded, battered, and deep-fried, but heck!  in the South, there are people who eat deep-fried Twinkies, so that means nothing.  I realize deep frying it hides some of the dreaded sliminess, but if you’re going to deep fry it, you might as well forget cooking at home and just go on down to the local McFast Food place and order a heart attack to go.  And we’re not doing that, are we?  And why not?  Because it’s Low Carb Thursday, that’s why!  Oh, and because we want to be healthy.  Yeah, that’s it.  We’re doing this for our health.  Keep telling yourself that.

Recipe type: Low-Carb
Serves: 6
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 4 c frozen okra
  • 1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 C water
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅛ tsp file powder
  1. First, in your trusty cast iron skillet (the deep one) or better yet, your trusty cast iron Dutch oven, fry the bacon until crispy.
  2. Remove and let cool.
  3. Using the bacon grease left in the pan (if you're really afraid of the Health Police, pour it out and use vegetable oil; I used the bacon grease like the good Southern girl that I am), cook the onions and celery on medium heat for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the okra, tomatoes, water, red pepper, black pepper and bay leaf.
  5. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Crumble the bacon into the mixture and cover.
  7. Simmer 12-15 minutes.
  8. Stir in the file powder.

okra creole


Until next time, Happy cooking!  :)


… cooking is just like religion. Rules don’t no more make a cook than sermons make a saint. ” – Unknown




And, I’m back.  You see, several weeks ago, I decided to take a couple of days off from blogging.  From that moment on, if it wasn’t one thing, it was another.  Before I knew it, it had been weeks (months, actually) since I had posted anything.  And to top it all off, I had one major case of writer’s block.  Lots of great recipes, but nothing to say about them.  And if you know me, you know I’m not usually at a loss for words.  

But today, I looked out the window and thought, “Soup day!”  And my writer’s block was cured.  Autumn is finally here, and that means soup weather.  And for whatever reason, soup is my favorite thing to make.  I had intended to make it really great day and use the slow cooker, but I got busy doing other things and before I knew it, there wasn’t time to use the slow cooker.  So, this is a stovetop soup day.  Now, let me be perfectly honest.  When I say autumn, I mean for all you nice people north of the Mason-Dixon.  We don’t have a real autumn down here in MickeyLand, but it has been overcast today and the wind is blowing, and that, my friends, is the closest we’ll probably get to autumn.  Don’t even get me started on the subject of winter……

So, I decided to try a new soup recipe.  I had found a great recipe for Spicy Cajun Sausage and Corn Soup at Deep South Dish, so that was the plan for the day.  After it was too late to do something else, I realized I didn’t have everything, but no problem, I enjoy improvising.  The only thing is, I made so many changes that, with all due respect to Deep South Dish, this isn’t the same soup at all.  Their recipe does sound good, though, and I recommend that you check it out.  I’m still going to try it one of these days.  But, here is what turned up at our table.

inspired by Deep South Dish

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lb. Nathan’s Famous Polish beef kielbasa
1 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1- 14.5 oz can diced chili ready tomates, undrained
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 can sweet corn
1 can hominy
1 can red kidney beans
4 cups of beef stock
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5  - 7 turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/4 McCormick Perfect Pinch Cajun seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/2 c rice

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Chop sausage into bite-size pieces and add to pot, cooking until slightly browned.  Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until tender.  Add the tomatoes and sugar and bring to a boil.  Add the corn, hominy, beans, and beef stock, boiling for about 5 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper, basil, parsley, Cajun seasoning, and bay leaf.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.  

Add rice and continue to simmer about 25 minutes.   Remove bay leaf before serving.


Until next time, Happy Cooking!  : )

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus




Last night, we had roast chicken for dinner.  I just seasoned  the chicken with Sazon and Chicken Bouillon and put it in the George Foreman roaster for 90 minutes.  I don’t think they still sell that roaster, but if they ever bring it back, I’m buying a second one for emergencies.  I loooove that roaster!  But I digress.  The only problem with roasting a chicken for two people is finding a use for the leftover chicken.  Lunch today was a salad with chicken, but there was still lots of leftovers.  So, I had to find a use for them.  Waste not, want not and all that jazz.  I started looking for recipes using cooked chicken and found this one.  It actually called for canned chicken, but close enough for me.  Now, to be honest, it was called Mexican Chicken & Rice, but it didn’t taste like Mexican.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even Tex-Mex. I don’t know what it was, but it was pretty good.  Just not Mexican.  Oh, well; another day, another dinner….

adapted from Campbell’s Kitchen

1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup uncooked medium-grain white rice
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

Combine first seven ingredients over medium heat; bring to a boil.  Add rice to pan; reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes, and chicken.  Cook additional 5 minutes.
Until next time, Happy Cooking!  : )

“Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life.” — Herbert Henry Asquith