The Legendary Orange Sauce | Dishin & Dishes

The Legendary Orange Sauce | Dishin & Dishes


This sauce is life.

I am not even KIDDING you.

This is Tacolicious Legendary Orange Sauce and legendary pretty much describes it.

It’s not salsa. It’s just…sauce. A sauce made with spicy dried chiles (but you can control the heat by how many you add). A sauce with a tang of vinegar, and toasted garlic cloves and charred tomatoes and onions.

I make it to go over these amazing Al Pastor Tacos. But people inevitably start dipping tortilla chips in it.

And then whatever salsa I may be serving gets forgotten.

Because …this sauce is life. 

The best life.

Start out by slicing two roma tomatoes in half and one yellow onion as well. Place the two roma tomatoes cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Slice one half only of the onion into 1 inch pieces and lay them on the baking sheet as well. Broil with your top rack of the oven moved up to the highest position for about 10 minutes until the all get a lot of black charring on them.

Remove them along with with any juices to a bowl.

While those are in the oven, take a small skillet and add a drizzle of canola oil. Add in 1/2 cup of Chile de Arbols. Seriously, these things are hot…I make a double recipe and I only add 6 or 7. But if you love crazy hot…add the 1/2 cup.

Toast them in a the hot oil…it happens very quickly. So after a few seconds flip them and then quick remove them to a bowl. Add in your garlic cloves and turn them until they get browned on each side as well. Remove to the bowl.

Add the tomatoes, onions, 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of salt (use the full tablespoon, you need it). Turn your blender on and puree all of this to bits. Then turn it down to low, and drizzle the oil in as slowly as you can, using only a tiny thread of oil at a time. The consistency will be like a thin salad dressing but with a little thickness.

I hope you love this sauce as much as we do!

The sauce of life.



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Warm Chocolate Cobbler aka Chocolate Pudding Cake

Warm Chocolate Cobbler aka Chocolate Pudding Cake



Chocolate Cobbler.

Yes you heard me right.

There IS such a thing…and it’s easy and delicious. Also, known by various names like Chocolate Pudding Cake and Fudgy Pudding Cake, the recipes out there are varied but pretty similar and all result in a pan of warm chocolate goodness.  Think molten lava cakes, but instead of individual cakes, you spoon it warm out of a pan and top it with ice cream. It’s like a crispy topped brownie with a layer of warm fudge sauce lurking underneath it, waiting to ooze out and make you swoon.

Instead of fussing over those individual molten cakes, I’m making this for my Wonderful Guy for Valentine’s Day. It’s simple and it’s warm and gooey chocolate…what more can you ask for?

Some say the origins come from an old Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook and you’re probably bound to run into it in some old cookbook of your grandma’s. But aren’t those the BEST recipes?

Now I have to tell you to trust the process in this recipe. SERIOUSLY.

Don’t question yourself on the final step because it really is that weird.

You make two layers, (like any good cobbler). The first layer or the bottom layer looks just like a brownie mix and you start with a mix of dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl, then combine the two.


Spread the thick batter with a rubber spatula into a sprayed 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

Then in a third bowl, you mix brown sugar and cocoa powder and sprinkle it heavily over top of the brownie mixture. And really…just use your hands to mix. the spoon didn’t do well with the brown sugar lumps but your built in mixing hands can squeeze those into submission!

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the brownie batter and then spoon the brown sugar/cocoa mixture over that.

I totally did that backward because I forgot the chocolate chips so pay  no attention to that photo!. Shake the pan back and forth and this will level out your toppings!

Pop it into a 350º oven for 40 minutes and then let it cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.

And when you dig in with that first scoop you’re going to be tickled pink. Just LOOK at that hot fudge sauce underneath!

warm pudding fudge cake

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Pudding cake recipe

And watch it melt onto that warm, chocolate crispy topped Chocolate Cobbler and mingle with that fudge sauce.

Valentine’s Day will be covered. Your honey will love you.

Enough said.


Warm Chocolate Cobbler


  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided (so use ⅛ here)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. espresso powder (optional)
  • ¼ t. kosher salt
  • ½ c. whole milk
  • 6 T. butter, melted
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • ⅛ c. cocoa powder (the rest of your divided cocoa powder!)
  • ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ c. hot water
  • Serve with Vanilla ice cream-mandatory!
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray an 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  4. In one bowl mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt.
  5. In another bowl whisk together milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a spatula, because it will be very thick – like brownie mix.
  7. Spread into sprayed baking dish
  8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top.
  9. In a 3rd bowl, mix together brown sugar and cocoa powder
  10. Sprinkle a thick layer of this over the brownie layer and shake pan to level.
  11. Pour the hot water over top evenly. It will start to soak into the brown sugar layer.DO NOT STIR! TRUST THE PROCESS!
  12. Bake for 40 minutes
  13. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream

Calories: 2921 Fat: 81 g     Saturated fat: 50 g     Trans fat: 3 g     Carbohydrates: 446 g     Sugar: 334 g     Sodium: 2353 mg     Fiber: 12 g     Protein: 23 g     Cholesterol: 203 mg    



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Suzie’s Stuffed Bread | Dishin & Dishes

Suzie's Stuffed Bread | Dishin & Dishes


Oh my goodness you guys! This recipe for Suzie’s Stuffed Bread is so yummy! You’re going to love it! Imagine a heavenly, cheesy dip baked inside of a long loaf of french bread that is baked in the oven until the outside of the bread is crispy and the inside is soft and warm.


Are you drooling yet?

You should be! It’s fantastic! My son and his beautiful wife Makayla were home from Virginia for two weeks on Navy leave and I had so much fun with them!

They went to a party one night with some of Conner’s high school friends and their wives/girlfriends and they took this stuffed bread.  After I saw it come out of the oven I had some issues that the kids were taking this wonderful pan of goodness out of the house to somewhere else, so I asked her to make it for us on Christmas for our family party!

I’m calling it Suzie’s Stuffed Bread because it is a recipe her mom Suzie has made for years, and it’s always one of the first things that disappears wherever it’s served.

One day Suzie and I are going to cook together somewhere. I think she must be my soul mate! Makayla has been telling me all about all the wonderful things her mom bakes and if they are anything like this stuffed bread, I can’t imagine how lucky she’s been to have indulged in them for years!

Also, can I just share with you how much we love Makayla as an addition to our family?  She is such a sweet soul and I love to watch how well her and Conner love each other!

Anyway, I got to have this twice because one night before Christmas,  Makayla and I made some homemade fusilli pasta and I talked her into making another recipe of the stuffed bread for us. (And then she made it again on Christmas!)

Then I sat on a stool in front of her and watched and took pictures!

It starts with a loaf of french bread. And don’t be messing around with those thin stick-like french breads! You’re going to need a large loaf to hold all this goodness. Trust me! Just get one of those loafs from the bakery that are around a dollar.

Then you slice it in half length-wise…

And you scoop out the bread from the bottom half of the bread with your fingers to look like a hollowed-out boat. *Note – there is so much filling, of late I’ve been hollowing out both sides of the bread and filling it. Why not have twice the goodness? Also it’s fun to slice one up and leave the other side for dipping for crackers!

If you’re going to do it all on one side, then don’t hollow out the top of the bread. That’s going to be for later!

Next Makayla mixed up 2 packages of cream cheese with 2 jars of dried beef that she chopped up pretty finely, 2 cans of green chiles and 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.  She said it’s easiest to just dig in with your hands and mix it all together! I’ve also used my KitchenAid or hand mixer and they work quickly and great as well!

Incidentally, if you’ve never used dried beef before it comes in a jar like this…

It is salty goodness and adds so much flavor to the spread.

After you get it well-mixed, wash your now, really messy hands and using a large spoon or spatula, spread it evenly into the hollowed-out bottom of the french loaf. It might help to line your baking sheet with tin foil because you know – NO CLEANUP AFTER!

Use your large spoon to level out the filling.

The pop the top of the bread back on and loosely tent foil around the whole thing.

Next you’ll need to put the pan into a preheated 400º oven.

Let this bake for about 45 minutes. As an option, about 10 minutes before it’s done, you can brush the top of the bread with melted butter and pop it back into the oven uncovered.

Did I mention this is a purely indulgent recipe?

Remove your bread from the oven and slice through into about 1 – 1 1/2 inch slices and serve warm with crackers as well. I really loved it with crackers, but then again I loved it with that warm bread with the crispy baked crust as well!

You guys, this is pure indulgence…I mean holy cow! You must take this to your next party…it’s so good!

Suzie’s Stuffed Bread


  • 1 large loaf french bread
  • 2 (12 oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 2 (7 oz) cans green chiles
  • 2 (2½ oz)jars dried beef, chopped finely
  • 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • ⅓ c. melted butter (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil
  3. Using a serrated knife, slice bread length-wise all the way through. Place bottom of bread on line baking sheet
  4. Using hands pull out most of the bread from the inside of the bottom piece of french bread, forming a hollowed-out boat but still leaving some of the bread around the sides and bottom for stability
  5. Mix together the next 5 ingredients well and spoon evenly into the hollowed out bottom of french loaf smoothing with a spoon evenly-
  6. Place top of french bread over the filling as a cap.
  7. Loosely tent the entire stuffed bread with a large piece of foil, kind of pressing around it with your hands down to the baking sheet
  8. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes
  9. If desired melt butter and brush over top of bread about 35 minutes into the baking.Uncover the bread for the remaining 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and slice with serrated knife into slices
  11. Serve with crackers if desired as well

Alternately, you can opt to hollow out and stuff both sides of the bread because there is a LOT of filling.

Calories: 1685 Fat: 152 g Saturated fat: 98 g Trans fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 26 g Sugar: 5 g Sodium: 2954 mg Fiber: 5 g Protein: 53 g Cholesterol: 418 mg



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Autumn Butternut Bacon Mini Tarts

Autumn Butternut Bacon Mini Tarts



Brrrr…it’s officially fall over here in Oklahoma which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  This weekend we cleaned up the garden and tilled the valuable compost bin matter into the beds. I had separated garlic cloves to plant but never quite got to it.

Oh for more time in a day!

As I get older, I realize just how much I cannot deviate from our Thanksgiving traditional dishes. I would be strung up if I didn’t have all the usuals, like Sweet Potato Crunch and Green Bean Casserole, but shhhhh…..can I share with you that I am kind of over casseroles and all the cream of soup dishes that I long ago loved?

I much prefer a giant pan of roasted root vegetables over casseroles these days, as does my hips and thights, so I have been letting the kids make their favorites and I’ve branched out over the years to trying some new things.

This appetizer is sure to please anyone who is standing around waiting for the turkey timer to chime. It marries together flavors like the sweetness of butternut squash and maple, the salty smokiness of bacon and chipotle pepper, and the tang of dried cranberries and it all comes along with the satisfying crunch of baked puff pastry.

Prep the separate ingredients days ahead and assemble and bake these just before your Thanksgiving gathering and everyone will be happy and mighty, mighty thankful!

Autumn Butternut Mini Tarts

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  • 1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1 t. chipotle pepper powder
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 c. grated fontina cheese
  • 1/4 c. chopped pistachios
  • Optional: 1/4 c. pomegranate arils

  • Preheat oven to 400º
  • Unroll puff pastry until flat and cut into 2-inch squares and place on parchment lined baking sheets (or Silpat lined)
  • Using a small paring knife, cut a square inside of each puff pastry square about 1/4 inch in from edge. When puff pastry bakes, this will form the center of the tart.
  • Brush egg over each puff pastry square
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven until golden brown.
  • Remove and retrace the cuts on the squares and pop out center of tarts.
  • Cook bacon until crisp and crumble in a bowl (I bake the bacon on a separate lined baking sheet and put in with the tart shells for 20 minutes. It’s perfect!)
  • Cube butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Add olive oil to skillet, sprinkle salt over squash and toss and saute squash over medium-high heat until fork tender, about 20 minutes
  • Add dried cranberries and bacon into squash in pan after squash is fork tender
  • Mix together maple syrup and chipotle powder and add to squash/cranberry/bacon mixture.
  • Stir often, letting squash caramelize in the syrup, about 3 minutes.
  • Grate Fontina into a a bowl
  • Add about 1-2 t. fontina shreds into center of each square
  • Add about 1 T. of butternut/cranberry mixture on top of cheese (which will melt the cheese underneath)
  • Sprinkle with pistachios and pomegranate arils if desired.




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    Cowboy Candy | Dishin & Dishes

    Cowboy Candy | Dishin & Dishes


    Cowboy Candy.

    The name itself evokes questions.

    Is it candy?  What exactly is this stuff that sounds like it’s straight off the frontier.

    I guess….an explanation is in order.

    Cowboy Candy is sliced fresh jalapenos that you simmer in a sweet vinegar syrup and then pour into a mason jar to sit and age like liquid gold.

    Once you’ve tried it over a cracker with some cream cheese or even better – creamy goat cheese, you will be forever addicted…the sweet syrup balances out the heat of the jalapenos and just makes you sigh with joy.

    But don’t stop there…pour it over grilled pork chops or a pork loin. Drizzle them over hot dogs or grilled brats. Whatever you do ….

    Make. Cowboy. Candy.

    Our garden is cranking out peppers like crazy…the jalapenos and seranos are going nuts! The shishitos, our personal favs are the ones getting the most attention. We toss them onto a hot iron skillet with a little olive oil and blister them then sprinkle with a good sea salt and eat them right out of the skillet.

    Here is what we’re currently doing with jalapenos.

    Slice up about a pound of jalapenos.  If they’re garden fresh, red ones are A-ok as well!

    In a medium saucepan, add 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoons of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed, a teaspoon of granulated garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Then add in all those sliced jalapenos.

    Simmer for approximately four minutes.

    Then using a slotted spoon, remove the peppers to a bowl.

    Pour the peppers into a mason jar.

    Then using a ladle, pour the syrup in on top of the peppers until it reaches about 1/2 inch of the rim of the jar.

    And that’s it…you can go ahead from this point and can the Cowboy Candy using the directions on the printable recipe that follows. This stuff never lasts long enough in our house to make it to the shelves for much time though…

    Our family is especially fond of cheese boards…so we put out a dish of this deliciousness with some kind of soft cheese at family cream cheese, honey goat cheese, even brie.

    You will love this stuff…it’s so addictive. I am hoping to make several more jars…it’s that good.

    • Cowboy Candy – Candied Jalapenos

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    • 1 pounds fresh, firm, jalapeno peppers, washed
    • 1 cups cider vinegar
    • 3 cups white granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
    • 1 teaspoons granulated garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • Wearing gloves, remove the stems from all of the jalapeno peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small disc off of the stem-end along with the stem. Discard the stems.
    • Slice the peppers into uniform 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
    • In a large pot, bring cider vinegar, white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pepper slices and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4 inch of the upper rim of the jar. Turn heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
    • Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeno slices. Insert a cooking chopstick to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air. Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on new, two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness.
    • *If you have leftover syrup, and it is likely that you will, you may can it in half-pint or pint jars, too. It’s wonderful brushed on meat on the grill or added to potato salad or, or, or… In short, don’t toss it out!
    • Place jars in a canner, cover with water by 2-inches. Bring the water to a full rolling boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints. When timer goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack. Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp washcloth then label.
    • Allow to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating. Or don’t. I won’t tell!



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    Valentine’s Day Chocolate Recipe Ideas

    Valentine's Day Chocolate Recipe Ideas



    Valentine’s Day is coming!  What do you on Valentine’s Day? Do you go out and fight the restaurant craze or stay home and cook a romantic meal for you and your hunny?  We typically stay home and for those of you who do, here are some recipe ideas with chocolate dessert inspiration for your dinner with your sweetie.

    First up, Chocolate Brownie Hearts and Strawberries.  They’re cute, they’re yummy and you can serve them with a side of chocolate hot fudge and life will pretty much bet wonderful as you know it.

    chocolate brownie hearts.jpg


    Espresso Truffles are easier than they look, melt in your mouth fabulous!



    Peanut Butter Pie with a chocolate cookie crust and a layer of chocolate fudge at the bottom.

    peanut butter pie

    S’Mores Fondue.  Need I say more?


    Just the name Molten Lava Cupcakes makes my Valentine romantic heart sing with joy!

    Molten Lava Cupcakes

    Take your pick! Any of these deliciously chocolate recipes should satisfy your Valentine’s Day chocolate craving and sweetheart!


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    Pickled Jalapenos | Dishin & Dishes

    freezing peppers


    This weekend, our first freeze sneaked slyly in, right on time in mid-November, causing us to assert “Operation Garden Rescue” immediately. We spent an hour or so Friday evening snapping off the last lingering okra pods, one lone eggplant, a zucchini, a smattering of green tomatoes and loads and loads of peppers.

    Sunday I sat and sliced them all – red and green bells, poblanos, jalapenos, serranos, cubanelles and habaneros. I say sat because it took me well over an hour, but it was well worth it for a winter full of organic garden peppers. Mr. Wonderful helped for a while but doggone, there were so many!


    We left some whole to make salsa, and put them all on sheet pans and popped them in the freezer to flash-freeze. That way, we can easily pull out how many we need out of freezer bags all winter long to add to stir-fries, Thai dishes and soups, omelets, fried potatoes and lots of other things!

    I chopped up at least four cups of jalapenos and serranos so I decided to make the Wonderful guy some of his favorites….Pickled Jalapenos.


    This is so easy – it really only takes the chopping, a little mixing, and canning, if you’re going to go ahead with that step.  Let me show you how I did it.

    Measure out 3 1/2 cups of chopped jalapenos.


    Then in a medium-large saucepan, add one cup white vinegar, one cup of water, 4 sliced garlic cloves and a tablespoon of peppercorns. Also add in 4 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of kosher or pickling salt. Do not use regular table salt.


    Bring this all to a simmer then add in your chopped peppers.


    Simmer one more minute then remove from the heat, let cool about 15 minutes, then pour into quart size canning jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space (if water bath canning).

    If canning – make sure jar is sterilized for canning, and jar mouth is wiped clean and dry. Seal with 2 part canning lid and place in boiling water that covers the jar in canning pot. Boil ten minutes then remove with canning tongs to cool onto clean towel. Lid should pop when done properly. Once opened, store in refrigerator up to 2 months.

    We’ll eat these on burgers, tacos and a variety of dishes over the next month or so. And the longer they sit, the better but I guarantee you these won’t last two months for their expiration date. They are so much better than those jars you’ll buy in the grocery store.

    Here’s to a spicy next few months!

    Pickled Jalapenos

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  • 3 1/2 c. sliced jalapenos (anywehre from 15-20 jalapenos)
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 cloves sliced garlic
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 2 T. pickling or kosher salt
  • 1 T. peppercorns
  • Slice peppers
  • In medium-large saucepan heat all other ingredients to a simmer
  • Add jalapenos and stir about one minute or until all sugar and salt is dissolved
  • Pour into quart jar container leaving 1/2 inch head space at top

  • If canning – make sure jar is sterilized for canning, and jar mouth is wiped clean and dry.
  • Seal with 2 part canning lid and place in boiling water that covers the jar in canning pot.
  • Boil ten minutes then remove with canning tongs to cool onto clean towel. Lid should pop when done properly.
  • Once opened, store in refrigerator up to 2 months.



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    Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls | Dishin & Dishes




    “Have you watched the movie Babette’s Feast?

    It’s a Danish film, by Gabriel Axel, full of annoying subtitles, washed out scenery, bland boring people that culminates into one of the most delectably prepared feasts I’ve ever seen, including the most expensive dish -“Cailles en Sarcophage” or Quail in puff pastry – deboned quail, seared, stuffed with foie gras and HUGE truffle slices, and a magnificent sauce of figs and truffle spooned over top. Watching these Puritan-type old spinsters warm and open up over delightfully thought-out and prepared cuisine is one of the reasons I love to cook.

    Ordinary food becomes gastronomy, acquaintances become friends, relationships improve over each intimate and delicious bite.

    It’s what makes you think about what would please that night for dinner, or that weekend for brunch with loved ones, new acquaintances or just the two of you on a romantic evening. Which led me to this dish, which is sadly not as eleborate or expensively delicious as Cailles en Sarcophage, but would satisfy anyone on the hottest of summer nights, or set out the fixings and rolled out as a group would be a fun project to bring even the somber-most hearts together.

    I love fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, especially in the dog days of summer when the green seems to have disappeared among browning foliage and grass and the pavement is so hot you can’t walk barefoot on it without hopping back and forth between each foot. The cool is finally coming here but it’s hardly seemed like fall at all with our temps being in the 80’s 90’s!

    You can fill these with any variety of vegetables, meats or tofu and you can use a choice of fresh herbs, but I sort of love the combination of Thai basil and mint in the more traditional way of things.

    I did decide to go a little off-kilter however by using fresh and crunchy zucchini noodles in my version this week instead of the usual rice noodles. After all it’s summer (sort of), and fresh produce still abounds so I walked out to my garden and picked veggies and fresh herbs and got to rolling up some refreshing spring rolls for dinner one night when the Wonderful guy was at his men’s bible study….and it was a chick food kind of a night.

    fresh basil mint and chives

    Start off doing some prep work.  You can use either cook medium-sized shrimp – (you can use 1-2 shrimp depending on what size of wraps you’re using) or buy the pre-cooked shrimp, which is what I opted to do. Keep in mind that you’re only counting 1/2 of a shrimp as one shrimp however….(see next step).

    Cut the shrimp in half as shown in the following photo.


    They will be nice little flat halves of shrimp. You don’t have to cut your shrimp, but it just makes the roll a little less stuffed I think to halve them.  You will ned 2-3 of these halves per fresh spring roll, so count out how many you wish to make. I made 8 tonight so I really only needed 4-6 shrimp.

    Next cut some chives into 4 inch pieces, at least 8 or more if you love chives.


    Other ingredients I used to fill my wraps were shredded carrots, using a potato peeler (but you could also just buy the matchsticks for a time saver) slivered red peppers, slivered snap peas, cucumbers and radishes and thin spears of asparagus. You’ll want to tear some lettuce leaves into about 4 inch long by 2-3 inch wide pieces (I used green leaf lettuce) and also some leaves of mint, cilantro sprigs and leaves and either Thai basil or regular basil. Thai is the best if you can find it.

    Fresh spring roll ingredients

    It’s important to prep everything ahead of time because it will make rolling these spring rolls a snap.

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention, traditional Vietnamese spring rolls use rice noodles as a filler but I wanted to capitalize on summer, and fresh zucchini noodles, sometimes called “zoodles”, so I hauled out my spiralizer and began to make them on the plate with the smallest holes.

    spiralized zucchini

    Now for the wrapper – you can find these in Asian markets or order here. I use this brand:

    fresh spring roll wrappers

    These are crispy rice paper rounds that you will dip in water to soften and use. They are a bit tricky and awkward at first, but you’ll get it after a few.

    rice paper wrappers

    Fill up a round shallow sauce pan (one that’s bigger than the rice papers) with water.

    Dip one right in and hold down with your fingers for about the count of 10 seconds.


    Lay it out gently without letting the sides stick to each other. It’s kind of like a challenging game of cling wrap war….

    I seriously detest using cling wrap.


    Now typically you lay in your lettuce first. This makes a nice “nest” of sorts for all your small ingredients. Do your layering of ingredients down to the end of the rice paper wrap closest to you.


    You can lay one or two of these down and then begin to top with the rest of your ingredients. I started with a blob of the zucchini noodles and then stacked the rest.

    how to roll fresh spring rolls

    Don’t layer on the shrimp yet.

    We’re going to start to roll by holding the rice paper wrap closest to you. Gently pull it up and over your toppings taking care to your move your fingers to the back of the toppings to hold on to them and tuck them in as you roll.

    rolling fresh spring rolls

    Tuck the end of the wrapper under the vegetables.


    Take the two ends and tuck them onto the roll. You can also do this at the end and because the wrapper is so gluey-like it will stick just fine!


    Now you should have the back edge left still unrolled. Lay down your shrimp. This just makes it prettier when rolled up.


    Next,  continue rolling all the way up!


    If you want to be fancy-schmancy, you can add in a long chive stem down with the shrimp and leave the end open for it to stick out.


    Then go ahead and roll the next seven of your fresh spring rolls! You can cut them in half to make a pretty presentation and serve them with my famous Thai peanut sauce for dipping (Find that recipe here!). It’s delicious!


    Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

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  • 8 rice paper spring roll wraps (I use Three Ladies Brand)
  • 8 3 inch pieces of leaf lettuce trimmed to fit rice paper
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized on thin holes
  • 8-12 cooked medium-sized shrimp sliced in half long ways
  • 8 chives trimmed 4-5 inches long
  • 1 medium sized carrot, julienned or peeled
  • sugar snap peas sliced long ways thinly
  • 1/4 red pepper sliced long ways thinly
  • 3 large radishes, julienned
  • 8 thin asparagus stalks, ends trimmed to 3-4 inches
  • 1 small cucumber thinly sliced into julienne pieces
  • 16 whole Thai basil or basil leaves
  • 16 whole mint leaves
  • 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • *Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping
  • Make zucchini noodles and prep shrimp, and other vegetables as stated in Ingredients above.
  • Dip each rice paper wrap in shallow pan or bowl filled with water and hold it approximately 10 seconds to soften.
  • Lay out on cutting board stretching to remove most wrinkles
  • Lay down lettuce leaf on one end leaving an inch or so border of rice paper wrap around the edges
  • Layer all other vegetables as closely as possible in center of leaf lettuce EXCEPT shrimp and herbs
  • Lay mint on top of all
  • lay basil on top of mint
  • Pull the rice paper rice gently over top of all using your middle two fingers to hold vegetable and tuck the rice paper over top of all and roll leaving about 2-3 inches from end.
  • Lay shrimp evenly on remaining unroll end and continue rolling
  • Tuck ends over the bottom of the roll and press firmly to stick.
  • Serve with Thai peanut dipping sauce.





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    Blistered Shishito Peppers | Dishin & Dishes

    what is shishito pepper


    Have ya’ll had shishito peppers before?

    Usually they are served at Asian restaurants and come out crackling hot on a plate as an appetizer.  Shishito peppers are finger-sized, green, (but sometimes red) mild peppers with a delicious flavor and delicately thin skin which make them perfect to simply blister in a hot skillet, oven or over a smoky grill and snack on as an appetizer.

    We are growing shishitos in our garden this year and being rather excited about it, I watched the first lonely pepper that appeared recently begin to lengthen a tad every day.

    Finally last Saturday morning while Mr. Wonderful was at work, I whipped myself up a garden omelet with sauteed kale, peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions from the garden and a light sprinkling of goat cheese inside and a side of perfectly cooked turkey bacon.  I took that first prized pepper and toasted it on a lightly olive oiled iron skillet until the skin charred on all sides in places, sprinkled it with pink Himalayan sea salt and feasted on the entire mess as if I was royalty.

    Photo Jul 15, 9 12 03 PM

    If you garden, you know what it is to watch a vegetable hang on the vine, impatiently watching for days and then snapping it off like a coveted trophy to bring inside and cook it up. In a few short weeks, we’ll have peppers coming out of our ears, but this day, one little perfect pepper sufficed to make me smile with pleasure.

    Imagine my extreme surprise and joy when I walked into our local Sprouts store a few days later and saw a giant bag of shishitos in the fresh produce section.  I took them home, blistered them and while we made some yummy Thai Green Curry Seafood Stew and Potstickers that night, we nibbled on them in the kitchen.

    Photo Jul 20, 10 05 00 AM

    To make Blistered Shishito Peppers you can do them several ways. First off just a warning, if you don’t want them snapping and popping on you, prick each one first with a sharp knife or fork so they won’t puff up and pop, splattering you with hot oil.  Then, simply toss them on a grill pan and make them outdoors on your BBQ grill, or skewer them and do the same. You can blister them on a hot skillet barely rubbed with a bit of olive oil right on a smoking hot smove top or you can do like I did and toss the whole lot of them into the oven and broil them until the skin partially blisters black on both top and bottom  Remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with some good coarse salt like sea salt, or fleur de sel or Maldon and for an added touch of wonder, try adding a sprinkle of a seasoning called togarashi, a blended spice of chiles used in Japanese cuisine.

    shishito peppers 2

    With or without the togarashi, you’ll love the Blistered Shishito Peppers and just to warn you, it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette. One in ten peppers is said to be hot, although I popped seven or eight in my mouth without issue and then Mr. Wonderful tried his first and said “that’s HOT”.

    The luck of the draw.

    Eat them quickly while they are hot and crispy as they wilt rather quickly after removing them from the heat! You can serve them with a simple dipping sauce made of 1/2 cup of greek yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon of smoky chipotle and adobe sauce from a can of smoky peppers.

    Anyway, I now have several more peppers popping up on my shishito plants, and I cannot wait to find new uses for them in cooking.  Whether you try the stove top method to avoid turning on your oven or roast them in the oven or char them on your BBQ grill, you’ll adore these crispy little darlings as much as we do!

    shishito peppers grilled 3

    Blistered Shishito Peppers



    • 2 dozen fresh shishito peppers, stem on
    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 t. coarse salt like fleur de sel or Maldon or Himalayan sea salt
    • *Optional: 1 t. togarashi
    • ½ c. plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 t. chipotle and adobe sauce
    1. Preheat oven to broil
    2. Add oil to heavy oven-proof skillet and place in oven until blistering hot. Remove skillet and add peppers (peppers will sizzle)
    3. Return pan to oven and broil until both tops and bottoms are slightly blackened (about 4-5 minutes)
    4. Remove and sprinkle with salt and serve immediately for maximum crunchiness
    5. Mix sauce ingredients together and serve on the side!


    Blistered Shishito Peppers recipe


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    Zucchini Pizza Veggie Bites | Dishin & Dishes

    zucchini pizza veggie bites


    Today I am partnering up with Produce for Kids to feature a healthy recipe for kiddos featuring produce. As a super fan of vegetables I made these cute little Zucchini Pizza Bites.

    Zucchini Pizza Bites

    Then Mr. Wonderful and I ate two entire cookie sheets full of them for dinner.

    Did I mention we are kids at heart?

    when you make these, I’d like to encourage you to throw the kids into the mix and have them help you make these because, as we’ve found out with our own kids and grandkids, when kids help cook, they tend to be more adventurous to eat what they’ve helped cook!

    • The healthy eating-focused Produce for Kids® campaign with Homeland launches May 31 and will run through June 30. It will raise funds for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and offer Homeland shoppers healthy meal solutions, recipes and tips.
    • Since 2011, Produce for Kids has donated $89,291 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. With every $200 raised, it supports a child in the “Food for Kids” program for the entire school year.
    • The campaign is supported by five participating fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, representing most major categories of fresh produce. Sponsors include:
      • Avocados from Mexico Mexican Hass Avocados
      • Delano Farms Company Table Grapes
      • Green Giant™Fresh Iceberg Lettuce
      • RealSweet® Vidalia® Onions
      • Victory Garden® Sweet Grape Tomatoes
    • In-store displays and signage, featuring the Produce for Kids and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma logo will be displayed in Homeland produce departments next to products supporting the campaign.
    • Visit for more information on how to support the campaign.
    • Visit com for more than 200 registered dietitian-approved and family-tested recipes, meal planning tools, grocery store specific campaign details, and healthy tips from real parents.
    • Follow Produce for Kids on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat (ProduceforKids) for more recipe ideas and healthy eating tips all year long.
    • Shoppers will be encouraged to share their own healthy recipes and ideas during the campaign using the hashtag #produceforkids.

    Let me show you how I made these little cuties!

    Start out by slicing two large zucchini into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds and laying them out, spaced out so the sides aren’t touching on a lined cookie sheet.

    slice zucchini pizza bites

    Now using a small teaspoon, spread about approximately 1/4 teaspoon of pesto each on one set of bites on one pan.

    pesto on zucchini bites

    Then spread 1/4 teaspoon of pizza sauce or marinara sauce on the other set of zucchini bites on the other pan.

    spread marinara on zucchini bites

    Next, sprinkle your choice of cheese on each bite. I used some leftover smoked Gouda on the pesto but mozzarella would be the obvious choice.

    sprinkle cheese on zucchini pizza bites

    Then I sprinkled some crumbled feta on each marinara topped bite on the other pan.  Cheddar or pepper jack would be some other fun choices! And oops! I forgot a picture!

    Now on to the toppings.  I thought funny faces on these little bites would be fun so I looked in my produce drawer for some options.

    These tri-colored sweet peppers would be perfect.

    Photo Jun 27, 3 26 07 AM

    I sliced them in half long ways and then sliced them into little half rings which would be perfect for little mouths, or flower petals or whatever.

    Photo Jun 27, 3 27 00 AM

    Other options I used were sliced black olives, chopped mushrooms, mini pepperoni’s and chopped broccoli and, as an afterthought later, I added some torn kale leaves because I have LOADS of it in my garden.

    zucchini pizza bite toppings

    Then the fun began!

    Can I just say that I really got playful with this and was actually laughing to myself while creating some of these faces?

    Broccoli became hair on this guy while black olive slices became his eyes and I stuck on a mushroom nose.

    Zucchini Pizza Bite funny face 1

    This guy was just a straight-up smiley face!

    Pizza zucchini bites 2

    And you HAVE to have a pepperoni bite in there because …it’s a classic.

    Photo Jun 27, 3 38 15 AM

    This one became a flower.

    Photo Jun 27, 3 38 55 AM

    This is big eyes and a big nose guy!

    Photo Jun 27, 3 40 12 AM

    And with red hair.


    And a 

    Photo Jun 27, 3 40 50 AM

    And this one looks like a kid with a mohawk!

    Photo Jun 27, 3 44 57 AM

    You could go on and on with these.

    Photo Jun 27, 3 46 39 AM

    How about a clown with kale hair?

    Zucchini Pizza Veggie Bites

    Now you’ll need to pop them into the oven at 350º for ten minutes. You want the zucchini cooked but not mushy and the cheese to be melted.

    Zucchini Pizza Bites Pesto

    And let the kids dig in…or the adults…which is what we did!


    pizza zucchini vegetable bites

    After all that work, these lasted about 3 minutes.

    Photo Jun 27, 4 18 04 AM


    Zucchini Pizza Bites

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  • 2 large zucchini, sliced 1/4-1/2inch thick
  • 1/4 c. pizza or marinara sauce
  • 1/4 c. basil pesto
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese, finely crumbled
  • sliced black or green olives
  • 1 T. each sliced colored peppers
  • 2 broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 kale leaf, torn into small pieces
  • 1 button mushroom chopped
  • 2 T. mini pepperonis
  • Slice zucchini and lay spaced out on parchment paper lined cookie sheets
  • On one cookie sheet dollop 1/4 t. basil pesto on each zucchini and spread almost to edges
  • On 2nd cookie sheet dollop 1/4 t. marinara or pizza sauce on each zucchini and spread almost to edges
  • Sprinkle with cheese of choice
  • Use remaining veggies and pepperoni to make cute funny face or designs on each pizza bite
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until zucchini bites are softened (but not mushy) and cheese is melted.
  • Other topping ideas:
  • Crumbled sausage or turkey sausage
  • Crumbled hamburger or ground turkey
  • Bacon bits
  • carrot matchsticks
  • roasted red peppers, chopped
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • chopped garlic
  • Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • The possibilities are endless!


    Zucchini Pizza Veggie Bites Final


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