Chipotle pimento stuffed jalapenos

Remember how excited I was about the Homesick Texan cookbook? I started with the Chipotle Pimento Cheese.

It was amazing on chips.








It was amazing on celery.








And even though it was too fabulous as a dip, I used it to stuff some jalapenos. And it was – as you can imagine – amazing.

Chipotle pimento stuffed jalapenos (just ever so slightly adapted from the Homesick Texan cookbook due to ingredients I was lacking)

  • 1 C cheddar, shredded
  • 1 C Monterrey Jack, shredded
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C jarred pimentos, chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle en adobo, diced
  • 1/2 C chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 5 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise and hollowed out
  • crushed taco chips

Mix together everything but jalapenos and taco chips. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (this part is difficult, as you will want to continue eating it). Turn on the broiler, then fill each jalapeno half with cheese mixture. Sprinkle crushed taco chips on top. Broil for 5-7 minutes, until chips are browned and cheese is melted.

Recipe Classic: 7 layer dip

Remember this? When hubs and I were first married, this was a staple of our diet. We probably ate tens of thousands of tons of 7 layer dip, and millions of chips to go along with it. I don’t watch sports, but I’m pretty sure this says game day.

7 Layer Dip

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • 2 C shredded cheddar
  • iceburg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tomato, chopped (I used the last of summer’s cherry tomatoes)
  • 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Spread the refried beans in a thin layer on a serving platter. Next, smooth the sour cream on top of that. Shake some cumin and chili powder over it (not much, like less than a teaspoon – I just shake it on like salt). Sprinkle on the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, and green onions, taking care to spread them evenly over the whole thing. You want to get a taste of every layer in every bite. Serve with chips.

Sometimes I put some black olives on, too, though that makes it 8 layer dip. How do you make this dip?

Watermelon Feta salad

It’s another month of Secret Recipe Club. This month, I was lucky enough to be assigned La Phemme Phoodie, a delightful blog on food, travel, and eating in Philly.

Her photos are gorgeous:

Lobster in Maine

Supper dog at a Philly hotspot

Gummy bears, lined up for Gummy Bear shots

Blackberry soup (looks totally to die for)

It was a tough choice, but I finally decided to make this Watermelon Feta salad,
adapted only slightly to what we had on hand. It was fun and delicious, and my mom helped.

We cubed about 4 cups of watermelon, peeled and cubed a cucumber (the very last one in the garden!), threw in some crumbled feta, and drizzled everything with Olive Orchard Greek oil. Perfect side!

Check out all of today’s secret recipe club reveals here:

Homemade ricotta

In an apparent 180 degree turn from last weekend, when I chose to cook nothing, today I decided to make my own cheese. I’ve seen it in a few cookbooks and blogs lately, and it’s been something I’ve wanted to try for a while now.

We picked up some Snowville whole milk and whipping cream at the market today and we were off. I used Ina’s recipe, swapping out regular white vinegar for the white wine vinegar called for. It really was super easy and the 6yo helped as well.

Here she is, my first cheese:

I was surprised at the amount of whey left over after draining the curds. I’m going to do some exploring to see how we can use that up.

From a box

Usually, I really love cooking. I usually make everything from scratch. But yesterday, I took a lazy day. Hubs smoked a polish sausage and a pork tenderloin. This was the only thing anyone cooked. Everything else came pre-made.

Pickles that my mom made, salami and peperoni from the deli, hot cauliflower from a jar:


A baguette from Kroger:


Pasta salad from a box (after making this, I can tell you it is only about 2 minutes faster to make from a box than just make it from scratch. So much for being lazy):


My sister brought over some entwine Pinot Grigio and parmesan.


Not pictured, baked beans – straight from the can. Wow. I’ll try to do better today.

Greek salad

This salad was inspired by the recipe on the Olive Orchard blog and some beautiful cucumbers and tomatoes from my mom’s garden.

Greek salad

  • 1 bunch of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 4 oz feta, cut into squares
  • olive oil for drizzling¬† (I used my Olive Orchard Greek)

Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Salt lightly (don’t go to heavy, because the feta is pretty salty). Sprinkle oregano and feta on top. Drizzle generously with olive oil.

Basil oil bruschetta

Remember my attempt at growing some new herbs this year? These are the only survivors:


They’re not looking so great. Enter my craving for bruschetta. I like bruschetta made with oregano, but sometimes I’m just in a mood for basil. Seeing as how mine isn’t fit to eat, I subbed it out for some Olive Orchard basil oil in this batch. Perfect substitute.

I like mine super soupy so I can pour those garlicy-basily-tomatoey juices all over the toast.

Basil Oil Bruschetta

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Basil olive oil, to taste (4-5 T is where I ended up)

Combine all, and serve with toasted baguette slices.

Some interesting things about olive oil

I did my first olive oil tasting* yesterday. These are my five takeaways:

1. Even children who hate 99% of the food on earth (aka mine) love tasting olive oil.

2. There is a huge difference between a lighter oil and a more intense one. This does not make it easier to choose a favorite.

3. Flavored oils can be used to make food that feels fancy and different, but only takes about 5 minutes to make. And it tastes awesome.

For example, chopped olives with garlic oil, which is perfect on toast,

fresh mozzarella with red hot chili oil,

and strawberries with orange olive oil and chopped mint.

4. Hungry two year olds can put away a LOT of orange oil strawberries, but will pick out all of the mint.

5. The hand print of an orange oil strawberry loving two year old can be removed from white shorts with a couple sprays of oxy-clean.

*Want to have an olive oil tasting at your house? Let me know in the comments and I’ll send you the info.

Squash fritters

Interestingly enough, one of my most viewed posts is Summer Squash Fritters. Because I’m trying to cut back just a bit on my grain consumption, I reworked them today to be grain free. Does that make them gluten free? I don’t know, but these use chickpea flour in place of the usual all purpose flour.

Summer Squash Fritters

  • 1 – 1.5 C of shredded crookneck squash (make sure to squeeze all the water from it)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 T chickpea flour
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 T olive oil for frying

Mix all with a fork to form a batter. Heat up your oil in a skillet over high heat. Place a few spoonfuls of batter in the pan making pancakes about the size of your palm. Be sure to spread the batter out float, or else the middle won’t cook. Fry until golden and set on one side, then flip and repeat. Fry all the batter in this way. You should get about 5-6 fritters out of it. Drain them on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and enjoy.

I enjoyed mine today with a little dill dip on them. I made it with (these are really rough estimates) 1/2 cup each mayo and sour cream, 1 T onion powder, 2 T dried dill weed.

Kale chips

Kale chips seem to be all the rage these days. I’m nothing if not a sucker for a good food fad, so of course I had to give them a whirl. I thought they were delicious and crunchy, and an excellent way to eat your veg. Unfortunately, the they still taste way too much like greens to try to trick children into thinking they are actual chips.


Kale chips

  • 1 bunch Kale, washed, dried, and center stem removed
  • 1 T or so olive oil
  • Seasoned salt to taste (go easy on it. The kale will shrink up on you. Mine were a little on the too salty side.)

Preheat the oven to 350 while you get your kale ready. Line a baking sheet (I needed to two) with parchment paper. Coat the kale with the olive oil, then spread it out on a single layer on your baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy and just browned.