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A recipe and a tip


The summer has been flying by and my poor blog has been neglected! We have been busy with some household projects and some special family times. Rather than trying to cover everything that has happened the last couple of months I thought I would keep this short and sweet and post a good recipe for a one-skillet meal that we tried recently and for a tip which is helpful in these hot summer months.

ChickenFajitaPasta

My daughter, Megan, told me about this Chicken Fajita Pasta recipe from a blog called Kevin and Amanda's Recipes. I tried this a couple of weeks ago and we really liked it. I made the taco seasoning that is mentioned in her post and we thought it was very good. About the only changes I made to the recipe were to use penne pasta, and some plain canned diced tomatoes, combined with some canned diced green chilis since I didn't have any Rotel tomatoes.

The tip I want to mention is one I read about in Cook's Illustrated magazine. They suggest reheating pizza on the stove top in a covered skillet. I have been doing this in my largest non-stick skillet which happens to have a glass lid. I heat the slices of pizza on a very low heat until the cheese starts looking shiny and kind of melted. If you watch carefully it doesn't get overly browned on the bottom and the pizza doesn't seem to dry out and get tough the way it sometimes can if you reheat it in the oven.

ReheatingPizzaSkillet

ReheatedPizzaPlated

I have found over the years that one way to make leftovers more appealing is to find proper ways of reheating them so they are not dried out and so they look attractive. This can mean carefully transferring the leftover foods to a clean, smaller casserole dish, adding liquids such as milk or water, covering the pan or casserole while reheating, and garnishing the new dish with additional toppings. Many foods are actually better the second time around. Would you agree?

This can’t be beet


I tried a new beet salad recently that we really liked and I wanted to share it here. Rob planted beets in the garden this year and they have done well. I am hoping he will plant another crop for this fall. We both really like them and DD Nora has learned to like them recently, as has her little daughter Della. Della seems to like many strong flavored foods. Anyway, here is the recipe. It makes a very pretty salad, IMHO.

CreamyBeetSalad

Creamy Beet Salad

4-5 medium beets, cooked, cooled, and julienned or cubed (I baked mine while baking something else)
1/4 cup chopped onion (red is pretty if you have it)
3 Tbsps. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar (could substitute cider vinegar)

Combine all ingredients gently. It would also be good with the addition of a diced apple and/or some toasted walnuts or pecans.

A new pasta salad


TunaPastaSalad

The other night I tried a new pasta salad for dinner. It was a hot day and I wanted something quick and easy. I had seen the recipe for this tuna pasta salad on the Iowa Housewife site and decided to try it--with just a few modifications. Here's the recipe that I used:

Tuna Pasta Salad

1 cup dry macaroni or rotini pasta
1 cup broccoli florets
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped onion
about 10 ripe olives, sliced
about 1/4 cup ranch dressing (enough to moisten)
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. salt

Cook pasta in boiling water for about 9 minutes. Add broccoli florets and cook for an additional minute or two. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool.Add all ingredients except tuna and toss to coat with the ranch dressing. Gently fold in the tuna. Chill the salad before serving. This made about four servings.

Enjoy on a hot summer day.

A trip to the beach


WalkingCarolinaBeach

Earlier this month Rob and I went to visit my friend and former college roommate, Cathy, at her condo at Carolina Beach which is near Wilmington, NC. We had a wonderful visit--it was the perfect combination of activities and relaxation. Cathy is a wonderful hostess and tour guide. Unfortunately her husband David had to work so we didn't get to visit with him.

One place we went to visit was the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It is a very nice aquarium.

CathyBeckaAquarium

They do some work protecting sea turtles in the area and they actually had a small sea turtle (less than a year of age) that you can view up close.

BabySeaTurtle

Some of the exhibits are the kind that allow you to handle the animals if you wish. There was also a special exhibit of Lorikeets on the property and it was fun to see them as well. They were very colorful and friendly.

Lorikeets

One day we went to downtown Wilmington and toured some shops in an old cotton mill which has been converted into a shopping and restaurant venue. While were were there we ate lunch at a place called The Basics. All three of us chose dishes which centered around grits--Cathy and I had grits with feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, and caramelized onions and Rob had Shrimp and Grits. We all enjoyed our choices.

We also enjoyed sitting on the porch of the condo and enjoying the cool breezes while looking at the ocean.

ViewFromCondo

Two of the days while we were there there were weddings on the beach just to the left of us. I was very surprised that the weddings were held in such a public area of the beach with all sorts of people walking around with surf boards, etc.

BeachWedding

One day for lunch we went to a place called Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn.

FlamingAmy's

They had all kinds of ingredients that you can choose from to make up your burrito. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal there and were tempted to stop again on our way out of town!

Another place that we have heard about from Cathy for many years is a legendary doughnut shop called Britts. It has been open since 1939. They just make one kind of doughnut, which is similar to the hot ones you can get at Krispy Kreme. The doughnuts did not disappoint. They are extremely light and delicious. After tasting these doughnuts it was easy to see why they are so popular.

EatingBritts

It's a great blessing to have friendships which span not only years, but decades. We were talking about the fact that as we age more and more of our friends are passing into eternity. We were thankful for the opportunity to catch up with one of our "old" friends and for her gracious hospitality.

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Something on the side


CheesyZucchiniRice

I tried a new side dish recently that I had pinned on Pinterest quite a while ago. Rob and I both liked it and thought it was tasty and attractive. I served it with some boneless pork chops but it would also pair well with fish or chicken. Another plus is that it uses zucchini, so tuck this one away for later in the summer when zucchini is bountiful and people start leaving bags of it on your porch--if you are so fortunate.

Cheesy Zucchini Rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 or 2 small zucchini, grated
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder or Johnny's Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet then add the rice. Stir and cook until the rice starts to turn light brown. Add the broth and then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Add the zucchini, cheese, and garlic powder and mix well. Cover and let stand for about five minutes to melt the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

PlatedCheesyZucchiniRice
Any new recipes coming from your kitchen lately?

Becka


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