Watermelon Sangria……………….

So, I don’t know if you all are fans of Country Music or not, specifically Blake Shelton. He is a good lookin, very tall country singer. He is also a judge on THE VOICE. Did I mention he has these incredible dimples? Well, anyway, he has this new song out called SANGRIA. I love that song. It’s sweet, sexy and romantic and all…..but forget that mushy stuff. Just the mere mention of the word sangria, is what got me. hahahaha. I think as summer gets closer, the perfect drink is an ice cold, fruity sangria. I just happened to have the perfect wine. I’ve mentioned a few times here on my blog, that my favorite vineyard is WIENS. I love their big, bold reds, but the whites are the best as well. If you are in California, I highly recommend visiting their vineyard and tasting room, in Temecula, CA. You can find more information  here  http://www.wienscellars.com

This is a simple sangria, but delicious and refreshing. If you are using a really good wine, you don’t want the fruit to overpower the wine. I must warn you, this stuff is way too easy to drink. It’s that good. It’s too easy to have one or 3 glasses. 🙂 Oh, now don’t forget about all that wonderful fruit that gets soaked with the wine. Mm-mmm-m. For this particular sangria, I used watermelon and lime. But adding peaches, berries…any of your favorite fruits would work. For a really good wine, like this White Crowded, by Wiens, pears would be perfect.

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1 bottle of good white wine, not too sweet
approx. 2 cups of chopped watermelon
1 lime, sliced thin

Chop watermelon and drop it into a large mason jar or glass pitcher. Drop in lime slices. Pour in a bottle of chilled wine. Stir and poke the watermelon a bit to release the juices. Chill for at least an hour or two. Shake and pour over ice. Enjoy.

Bow tie Lasagna…………………..

This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. I love pasta…..in all forms….especially spaghetti. But there is something about bow ties. Those cute little bow tie shaped morsels of goodness. I’ve used them with  cream sauces, pasta salads, with shrimp….but my favorite way to use them is in this dish. Bow tie lasagna. Who doesn’t like lasagna? Right? Layers and layers of pasta, cheese, sauce….more cheese…mm-m-m-mmm. I keep it simple for this particular “lasagna”. I am not a real fan of ricotta cheese, ew-www, (wrinkling my nose), so I use cottage cheese. But use what you want! Another ingredient I have always used in any lasagna dish I have ever made, is cream cheese. Yeah, yeah….I know…..weird. But wait till you try it. It’s just so good. It is!!! Just try it. Now, you can use a jar sauce if you are in a hurry, or you can make your own favorite sauce. Sometimes, I just make a real quick sauce if I am in a hurry. You should know….this is truly a comfort food. Ohhhhhh, yessssss. Really bad day, really good pasta.

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Bow Tie Lasagna

3  1/2 cups of dry bow tie pasta, boiled to al dente. Drain.
1  1/2 cups of cottage cheese
1/2 of a 8 oz block of cream cheese, cut in cubes
2 cups of shredded or sliced provolone cheese (I like the super melty factor of provolone)
1  jar of good quality pasta sauce or your own sauce (my quick sauce recipe, below)

Now, let the layering begin!!  Spoon a little bit of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Next, add half the bow ties. Add cubes of cream cheese on top of the bow ties. Next, drop spoonfuls of cottage cheese all over. Add the remainder of the pasta. Spoon the rest of the pasta sauce on top. Cover with provolone cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Super quick Pasta Sauce

1/2  lb ground beef (optional)
1  medium size can of diced tomatoes
1  small can tomato sauce
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/2  tsp oregano
salt and pepper

Brown the ground beef, drain any grease. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Chocolate cookie for one………..or two

You ever have a craving for something chocolaty, but  you KNOW you don’t really need a whole bunch of cookies in the house? Right? Wellllllll, how about making a cookie for one person….ok, well maybe 2 people. After all, this is a big cookie. It measures about 6 inches. But at least it’s not an entire batch of cookies. By making this one cookie, you can satisfy that craving….your sweet tooth….without going nuts, stuffing cookie after cookie into your mouth until you are consumed with guilt and have a bad tummy ache and have to wear stretchy pants for 3 days. Not that this has ever happened to me. 🙂

This is a good chocolate cookie…..thick, chewy, gooey……very satisfying. Super quick to whip up. So comforting after you’ve cried for an hour while watching a sad tear jerker movie and your face is all splotchy and eyes are swollen. Or when you have had a bad day and you’re feeling sorry for yourself and you’re out of wine. I think I will call this Comfort Cookie……or Triple C (Chocolate Comfort Cookie)…


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Chocolate Cookie for One

4 TBSP butter, melted and room temp
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp instant coffee
1/4 tsp salt
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup + 2 tblsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup chocolate chips
½ chopped toasted pecans, walnuts or almonds

Heat oven to 350. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using paddle attachment, cream together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg and mix.  In a separate bowl, mix together the baking powder, instant coffee, salt, cocoa powder, and flour.  Add dry ingredients into the butter brown sugar mixture. Don’t overmix! Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Mound the dough into a big ol ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it looks puffy and feels somewhat set, but still very soft. I baked mine for 16 minutes in an electric oven.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet.





Ya’ll like cornbread? I don’t know what it is, but whenever I think about making cornbread, I start talkin with a southern accent. I love southern accents and I love cornbread. 🙂 I  love it with a hot bowl of chili, or with some collard greens, or just hot with some honey and butter. Sometimes I make the cornbread with corn and jalapeno in it….sometimes I add cheese. It’s just so good. In my opinion, the only way to make cornbread, is in a good ol cast iron skillet. That’s the real way. But if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, don’t worry….a cake pan will work. Ya’ll are just gonna love this corn bread.

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1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of corn meal (not to be confused with cornbread mix)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup oil

optional add ins: 1/4 cup corn, minced jalapenos, crumbled cooked bacon

Preheat oven to 400 deg. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet. In a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the egg, milk and oil, till well combined. Pour batter into the hot cast iron skillet……yes, right into the melted butter. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Great with honey butter!

Honey Butter

1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of honey


Fried Green Beans……with Ranch Dipping Sauce

I have noticed that a lot of restaurants have fried green beans on their menus. Some are beer battered, some are coated in bread crumbs. I prefer a beer batter, myself. Any beer will work for this. You can even use a carbonated water. But beer works best. These are a great appetizer for guests, or just for your lil ol self. Dip them in anything you want, but I made a dipping sauce of Ranch salad dressing, some wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and soy sauce. Mm-m-m-m-mmm. I also like a sauce of sour cream and hot sauce. I’m sure you all have your favorite dipping sauce! You’re gonna love these and will most likely make them again and again. They really are addicting….seriously.

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Fried Green Beans

Fresh green beans, washed and dried
1 cup of beer
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
vegetable or corn oil for frying

In a bowl, whisk flour, salt and pepper, and beer together, till almost smooth. On a medium high heat, heat about 2″ of oil in a good size skillet.
Dip green beans in the batter and place a few at a time in the hot oil. Don’t crowd them. Don’t keep stirring them around either. If you do, the batter will fall off. Allow them to get brown and gently turn the beans over to get them evenly browned all over. Remove them and drain on power towels. They are good just like this, or you can dip them in your favorite dipping sauce.

Ranch Dipping Sauce

1 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
wasabi or hot sauce

Combine the 3 ingredients, and dip away!!!!