Potato Kale Soup with Rice…….

It’s another day of windy, rainy weather here in southern Cali. It’s my favorite kind of day and as you know, I love to make  soup on a day like this! Todays soup has red potatoes, Italian kale, tomato and rice. If you are a vegetarian, stop there….the soup is really flavorful and yummy. But if you need something a little meaty, you can add whatever meat you have on hand. I happened to have some jalapeno bratwurst so that is what I added. Soup is one of those things that you can just add whatever you want and it’s quick to throw together. So, whether it’s raining or not, and you are looking for a quick soup, try this and slurp slurp. But don’t make that slurping noise…ewwww, gross.  I hate that. 🙂


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Potato Kale Soup with Rice
serves 2

1 bunch of Italian kale (regular kale works too, but the kale you see pictured, is super tender)
2 small red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 clove of fresh garlic
2 Tblsp butter
1  14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked rice
1 sausage link, sliced (bratwurst, Italian, etc) OPTIONAL
1 bouillon cube (veggie or chicken)

In a medium sized soup pot, melt the butter and add the garlic. Chop the kale into small pieces and saute in the butter garlic mixture. Add the tomatoes, sausage, bouillon cube. Fill the tomato can with water and add to the pot. Add salt and black pepper, to taste.  Allow to cook until the potatoes are tender. Add the cooked rice. Serve with some hot crusty bread and you’re good to go. You may want to make a double batch because the soup is even better the next day.

Is that simple or what!


Crispy mini Chocolate Chip Cookies……

Have you ever known anyone who didn’t like chocolate chip cookies? I am really picky about my CCC’s. I have tried dozens of recipes and I do have my favorites. I love a good chewy, buttery chocolate chip cookie, but sometimes I like them crispy and buttery. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about those little Famous Amos Cookies. You’ve had those right? You can find them in little bags in most vending machines and convenient stores. They also come in bigger bags at the grocery store. They’re little bites of crunchiness. However, they are not at all like the original Famous Amos cookies.

Oh so many years ago, in the late 70’s, my ex hubby and I would go to Sunset Blvd, in Los Angeles, CA. There was a Famous Amos Cookie Store…..white building, blue roof. It was always packed, with a line out the door. We would buy little wax bag fulls of mini ccc’s. It smelled so good outside and in the shop. My, my, my. We always got an extra bag to take home. But funny, that extra bag never made it home. Those cookies were the best little morsels ever……golden brown little buttery bites that just melted in your mouth. I’m not sure just when the recipe changed. But I heard that once they became so popular, they needed to change the recipe to give it a longer shelf life. They taste nothing at all like the originals. Wally Amos was the wonderful man who created the original cookies. He would make the cookies for his celebrity friends and it was Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy who loaned him the money to start his business.  If you get a chance to read about him, please do. He has a great life story.

Anyway, I have tried over a dozen variations of CCC’s….all claiming to be THE original FA cookie. But nah, not so much. I did stumble across a recipe that does comes pretty close. So I made some adjustments and I am happy with it……for now. It’s a pretty good crispy little cookie. It’s fun to make the bite sized miniatures. Oh, and when you read the recipe and it states  “1 teaspoon” of dough, I do mean 1 teaspoon……a measuring teaspoon….of dough. It will seem like such a tiny amount of dough, but trust me…they spread to about an inch and a half when baked. Perfect bite sized cookies. So, bake some up, pour yourself a cold glass of milk and crunch away.

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Crispy mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
4 tablespoons shortening (I use butter flavored but regular is okay)
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Just a bit less than 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1  1/2 Tablespoons lightly beaten egg (crack an egg into a little bowl, mix well with a fork and measure out 1 ½ Tblsp)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda  (just under ½ tsp…see note below) **
1 cup all-purpose flour
1  1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, shortening and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, salt and vinegar. Then beat in egg. When egg is well mixed, add baking soda and mix well. With a spoon, hand stir in the flour, being careful not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by level teaspoonfuls (use a measuring teaspoon) onto the cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. It wont look like much dough, but don’t worry, they will spread. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. I baked mine for 17 minutes. They should be golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely. If you touch them, they won’t seem crispy yet, but they will turn crispy as they cool.

This will make about 100 little cookies.  Store them in an air tight container, otherwise they will not be real crispy the next day.

** I found that ½ tsp baking soda gave a bit of a salty bitterness, but ¼ tsp wasn’t quite enough. So just under ½ tsp is good.

As soon as the cookies are completely cool, I put them in a tightly covered container. The first batch I made, I let the cookies set out while I ran errands. After 4 hours, the cookies were no longer crispy.

If your cookies should get soft, heat oven to 300, put the cookies on a baking sheet, turn oven off and leave cookies in the oven or about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool off completely. They will be crispy again, once cooled.


Rolled Tacos with Nacho Cheese Sauce….

There is a Mexican eatery here in San Diego, that has been around for hundreds of years. Well, maybe not quite that long, but it’s been there forever. Whenever I pick up out-of-town guests from the airport, this is the first place they want to go. It’s called El Indio. They have been making fresh tortillas forever and when you walk in, they give you a freshly made, hot tortilla with butter. It’s a good place and has been featured on several tv shows. I have been going there forever. I always get the same thing…….mordaditas. Mm-mm-mmm. They are crispy rolled tacos, that are cut into bite size pieces. Then, they are smothered in nacho cheese sauce. Then, they are sprinkled with sliced jalapenos. I of course always get mine topped with a dollop of sour cream. Then I pour freshly made salsa all over it. OMG, are you drooling yet? I am! Everyone I know that has had these, loves them. Oh, my, I may have to go get some today. Wanna go?

I make them at home sometimes. But rolling tacos are a pain, so I don’t make them often. But I did recently and enjoyed every single bite. Now, sometimes I make my own cheese sauce. But once in a while, I will just buy a canned nacho cheese sauce. Yeah, yeah….I know. Canned? But seriously, there are some good ones out there. Besides, that’s what the restaurant uses! Oh, and if you don’t want to make your own rolled tacos, just buy the frozen ones. Yeah, yeah, I have done that too. But freshly made is much better even though it’s a pain.

So, I know you are drooling now so wherever you are, go home and make these now!

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Rolled Tacos with Nacho Cheese Sauce

Prepared filling of your choice: shredded chicken/beef, ground beef, veggies, etc
corn tortillas, slightly fried (just to soften them)
Oil for frying
Can of nacho cheese sauce or make your own (recipe below)
Sliced marinated jalapenos (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

In a large skillet, heat just a bit of oil. Dip tortillas in, just to soften. Place tortillas on paper towels to drain.

Place filling on the tortillas and roll them up.   Add more oil into your pan….about a half-inch. Fry the tacos until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Heat your cheese sauce in a sauce pan. Cut up the rolled taquitos into fourths. Place them onto a plate and pour the cheese sauce over the top. Top with jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, etc. Devour.

Homemade Nacho Cheese sauce:
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp flour
8 oz of grated cheddar cheese, or mixture of Monterey jack and cheddar*
1 cup of milk
2 tblsp  of salsa

In a sauce pan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk until you have a smooth paste. Don’t let it get real brown. Add the milk and whisk until it’s all nice and smooth. Add the cheese and salsa and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

* You can also use velveeta cheese which is very creamy.


Wine Time Truffles……………..

I mentioned recently that I would be posting my chocolate wine truffles. Well, here they are. Cheers!! OMG, yum. Yum, Yum, Yum. These are very decadent. They are to be savored…..not devoured. Seriously, they are so rich and chocolatey. If you are a wino….I mean a wine lover, you must make these. I don’t think you can really taste the wine right away. But it kinda hits you at the end……..a lingering wine taste that is ever so good.

I made some that are rolled in cocoa powder and some that I dipped in melted chocolate. I like the ones rolled in cocoa powder. The bitterness of the unsweetened cocoa offsets the richness of the truffle. The melted  chocolate coating is too rich and just too much chocolate for me. Did I really just say that? Too much chocolate? Is there such a thing?  I recommend the cocoa powder coating. It’s also a lot easier and quicker. OMG, such a pain to dip the truffles into the melted chocolate…..messy too.

I wanted to give these as a little gift and realized I had no candy boxes. So I used white lunch sacks….cut them down smaller, punched 2 holes in the top and put some red ribbon through the holes. I’d say that’s a nice little gift! Or, you could even fill a nice wine glass with some truffles and place the wine glass in a nice in a cellophane bag tied with ribbon. Or, you could not give them away and keep them all to yourself!

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Red Wine Truffles

16 oz semi sweet chocolate (I used Trader Joes block of chocolate)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup red wine
1  tblsp butter
about a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

Chop up your chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Heat the whipping cream until it’s just starting to simmer. DON’T let it boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is all melted and your mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter. Add the wine and gently stir. Cover and chill for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.

Scoop out mixture and roll into balls. Place them onto a wax paper lined sheet. Put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer, roll them in the cocoa powder and place them in little candy cups if you have them. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve or give away. I store mine in the freezer. These tend to be rather soft. But who cares! less chewing. hahahaha.

If you don’t mind making a mess and want to dip them in chocolate, here ya go:

Chocolate Coating

16 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp coconut oil or vegetable oil

Melt the chocolate and stir in the oil. Dip chilled truffle balls into the chocolate. Using a candy fork or 2 dinner forks, lift the truffles out and place on wax lined sheet. Chill until chocolate has set.

Parmesan-Portobello Mushroom Pasta………..

What is it about pasta? I am in love with pasta.  There are so many ways to prepare it and it’s one of the comfort foods and I crave it all the time. I mean seriously, I could live on pasta. Especially spaghetti with a good meat sauce. But sometimes you just want a nice light pasta. This is a simple and quick dish that could be a meal by itself, or also served as a side dish. I am normally not a huge fan of angel hair pasta….I find it too light. But for this particular dish, it’s perfect.

I usually always make this with portabello mushrooms, but any kind of mushrooms work. Sometimes I even throw in some asparagus, which is SOOOOOO good.

I hope you like it!

My camera is not taking good pictures lately. Rrgghhhh….sorry.



Parmesan-Portobello Mushroom Pasta

1/2 box of angel hair pasta
2 Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of white wine, or the water you cooked your pasta in
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
fresh basil or parsley, chopped fine for garnish
1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Cook the pasta and drain, reserving a bit of the water. In a large fry pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Remove them from the pan. In the same pan, add the pasta, wine or water and give it all a toss. Drizzle with some olive oil or more butter and add the parmesan and lemon zest. Toss and serve with the portobello mushrooms on top. Garnish with the basil or parsley.

Serves 2 as a side dish