Friday, July 29, 2022

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

As you have no doubt come to realize, I have been doing a lot with zucchini. After the resounding success of my Fruit and Spice Zucchini Bread, I decided to give a chocolate version a try. This is insanely good! The crust is crackly and crunchy; the interior is chewy, almost creamy, and densely chocolate. I have had brownies that weren’t nearly this good. The beauty of this is that I count a slice as a serving of vegetables. While that may not be accurate, it is good, and works well any time of the day. Consider a slice for dessert topped with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Heaven!
Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 T. melted butter
1 extra large egg
1 c. sugar
½ c. vegetable oil
1 c. grated
Melissa’s organic zucchini*

1 t. vanilla extract
3 T. cocoa powder
¼ t.
espresso powder
1 c. flour
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ c.
mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9” x 5” loaf pan with PAM; set aside.

In a large bowl combine butter, eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, and vanilla; beat well. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder, espresso powder, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the chocolate chips. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until blended. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before inverting and removing from pan.

 *About one medium zucchini


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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Green Enchilada Chicken Soup

You wouldn’t think that a hot day would be a good one to be fixing soup, but I had a great interest in adapting a recipe that I found online, so made a big cauldron (read: slow cooker) of it yesterday. It was so good! Thick, rich, and wonderfully delicious, it is worth making for the broth alone, it is so flavorful. This version is very mild. If you like your food spicy, use hot sauce, or a hotter version of salsa verde. I topped mine with vegetables, herbs, and a dollop of sour cream.  Feel free to use crumbled Fritos or tortilla chips to top yours. For an even heartier soup, put a handful of tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl before you fill it with this toothsome concoction. If you’re not one to have soup in the summer, save this recipe for fall. You’ll thank me later.

Green Enchilada Chicken Soup

 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

1 28-oz. can green enchilada sauce

24 oz. chicken broth

½ t. paprika

¼ t. onion powder

¼ t. garlic powder

1 t. Montreal Chicken Seasoning

½ c. chopped celery (about 1 rib)

1 14.5-oz. can corn

2 Melissa’s shallots, chopped

½ c. chopped Melissa’s roasted red peppers

1 c. heavy cream

2 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

4 oz. cream cheese, cubed, room temperature

4 oz. salsa verde

Salt and pepper to taste

In a 6-quart slow cooker place chicken breast or thighs, green enchilada sauce, chicken broth, seasonings, and vegetables. Cook on Low 6 to 8 hours.

 Remove chicken and shred. Return shredded chicken to the soup and stir in heavy cream, jack cheese, cream cheese, and salsa verde. Turn slow cooker to warm and stir occasionally until cheeses are melted. Add additional seasonings, to taste.

 Be generous with the toppings, almost excessive. I like to use avocado, cilantro, green onion, and sour cream.

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Monday, July 25, 2022

Spicy Frito Corn Salad

I once met a person who didn’t like Fritos; we couldn’t be friends. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but in my mind, there’s absolutely no reason not to love them. When I found this recipe on the Cookies & Cups website, the fact that a salad contained Fritos intrigued me, so I had to make it. Let me just say that with or without the Fritos it is delicious; with the Fritos it is over the top. It is colorful, fun, spicy, super tasty, and a must for summer parties, picnics, or barbecues.

Spicy Frito Corn Salad

Slightly adapted from


3 T. Adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

2 T. fresh lime juice

¼ c. Duke’s mayonnaise

¼ t. cumin

½ t. kosher salt

½ t. fresh ground black pepper


2 15.25-oz. cans corn, drained

2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

¾ c. diced Melissa’s roasted red peppers

1/3 c. diced green bell peppers

1 small Melissa’s pickled jalapeño, diced

¼ c. diced red onion

1 c. chopped cilantro

¼ c. crumbled cotija cheese, plus more for garnish

2 c. coarsely crushed chili cheese Fritos

 In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients; set aside.

 In a medium/large mixing bowl, toss together all salad ingredients EXCEPT Fritos. Fold in dressing to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour, more is better. When ready to serve, toss with additional cotija cheese and the crushed Fritos. Serve immediately. Don’t allow those Fritos to become soggy!

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Friday, July 22, 2022

Mayfair Hotel’s Steak Diane

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for the salad dressing from the Mayfair Hotel in St. Louis. You can find that recipe here. Lynney commented that she loved the Steak Diane from that hotel, so I set about to find the recipe. Last night I made that Steak Diane, and I have to tell you that it is restaurant quality, and couldn’t be easier. It literally took no longer, including prep time, than 15 minutes. A baked potato, and broccoli blanched in boiling water for four minutes and seasoned it to my liking, made for an excellent meal. Don’t wait for a special occasion to make this, treat yourself.

Mayfair Hotel’s Steak Diane

1 10-oz. boneless sirloin steak (about 1” thick)


2 Melissa’s shallots, finely chopped

4 fresh mushroom caps, sliced

1 t. Worcestershire sauce

2 T. brandy

Trim almost all fat from steak. Preheat a skillet until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add just enough butter to prevent sticking. Brown steak quickly on one side, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots or mushrooms; cook 2 minutes. Turn steak; cook about 6 minutes or until steak reaches desired doneness.

 Tip the pan toward you; add Worcestershire sauce and brandy. Tip the pan away from you; carefully light with a long-handled match. (Or remove the pan from the heat while you light the brandy and then return it to the burner.) Slide the pan back and forth while the sauce blazes to blend well.

 When flame is almost extinguished, transfer the steak to a warm plate. Spoon sauce over the steak.

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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

I have been over the moon using the grill my dad gave me when I moved into this house. I didn’t get much use out of it for the first nine years, but I am making up for that now. It took me a bit of time to get confident enough to stray from pork steaks, hamburgers, and the occasional zucchini, but stray I did in making these grilled chicken satays with peanut sauce, a super easy, super delicious recipe from the Damn Delicious site. The skewers make these easy to maneuver and the kids will find them lots of fun.  If you are a fan of chicken with peanut sauce, these are a must make.

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce

¼ c.
coconut milk
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
2½ t.
yellow curry powder
1½ t. turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. freshly grated ginger
1 T. brown sugar
1 T.
fish sauce
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 T. canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the peanut sauce:
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t. brown sugar
2 t.
chili garlic sauce, or more, to taste
1 t. freshly grated ginger

To make peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce, and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder, turmeric, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and fish sauce.

 In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and marinade; marinate for at least two hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.

Bring grill to medium high heat. Thread chicken onto
skewers*. Brush with canola oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

And skewers to grill, and cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165° F, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately with peanut sauce.

*Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes to an hour prior to using to prevent them from catching on fire.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Under the Sea Table for Two


This tablescape is a riff on the “Supper by the Shore” tablescape that I did last week. One of the reasons that I wanted to create this was not only because I wanted to use my adorable individual fish tureens, but also as an illustration at how easy it is to adapt one table setting into another.

  The centerpiece of this table is the water pitcher that I used last time, only this time it has been pressed into service as a vase. It is in the “Stamped Seahorse” pattern from Maxcera, and full of yellow alstroemerias, a cheerful and long-lasting flower.

I wanted the pop of yellow at center to be picked up in the stemware, so I chose one of my favorites, these yellow goblets. Noritake flatware with ridged ceramic handles, add even more yellow to this setting.

The whimsical and adorable miniature fish tureens in yellow and turquoise are vintage and were a promotional item from Chicken of the Sea. Aren’t they just the cutest things ever?!

As you can see, I kept the round tablecloth in burlap and fishnet topper the same as I did last week. This week I added wicker placemats. 

The turquoise salt and pepper shakers are Fiestaware, giving a nice complementary pop of color; the little yellow dish heated by a tea light candle is made in Holland by Boska.

The napkins are the same ones that I used last week, only this week I changed the position of them from under the plates to the right on top of them, emphasizing the secondary color.

I love candlelight at a dinner table, so this week chose glass candleholders with a space in the bottom for the organic element of my choice, in this case river-washed stones, adding more to the center of the table, to give that ocean bed feel.

When you’re setting a table, no matter the occasion, keep in mind that a few changes or variations can make a big difference.

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This post is linked to: Tablescape Thursday

Monday, July 18, 2022

Grilled Zucchini

I have gone absolutely wild using my grill this season. I have already used it more this summer than I have in the past three years. I know nothing about grilling, but I am learning fast with various forms of experimentation. Week before last I grilled cauliflower steaks. This week I’m grilling zucchini. There is absolutely nothing to this, and I find that thicker slices keep the zucchini from going limp as it often does on the grill if the slices are too thin. Make dinner easy on yourself by doing as much as you possibly can outdoors. Keep that kitchen cool!

Grilled Zucchini

1 to 2
Melissa’s organic zucchini, sliced diagonally ½” thick
¼ c. your favorite Italian salad dressing
½ t. dried parsley
½ t. dried basil
Few gratings freshly ground black pepper
Garlic salt

Slice zucchini and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined plate for 15 to 30 minutes while you are preparing the grill. In a medium to large bowl, whisk together Italian dressing, parsley, basil, and pepper. Place drained zucchini into the dressing tossing to coat. Place it on the grill at medium/high heat and close the cover. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with garlic salt. Serve immediately.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Southern Pimiento Cheese

Believe it or not, I found yet another recipe for pimiento cheese, this one is southern style. I have been singing the praises of pimiento cheese for a long while. I grew up on this stuff; as a girl I had it as a filling for sandwiches, as an adult I find the benefit of enjoying it with fruits and vegetables. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I’m trying to cut back on carbs, so instead of enjoying this as I usually would on crackers or a crusty roll, I am enjoying it with celery, grapes, and apple slices.  It is a delicious and satisfying snack.

Southern Pimiento Cheese

Slightly adapted from

  ⅓ c. Duke’s mayonnaise

2 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 t. grated onion

¼ t. black pepper

¼ t. garlic powder

¼ t. Creole seasoning

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 t. dill pickle juice

4 oz. diced Melissa’s Roasted red peppers

2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise and cream cheese until well blended. Stir in the onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and pickle juice. Fold in the pimento and cheddar cheese.

 Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Macaroni Pie

Last week in a Facebook post, Nathalie Dupree mentioned making macaroni pie for supper. She posted a picture and it looked like a bowl full of comfort. She happened to mention that it was in one of her cookbooks, one that I own, so I dug it out and gave this recipe a try.  It is easy to put together, hearty, and full of cheesy goodness. If you have a busy day ahead (and who doesn’t?) you can make it early in the day and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. Serve it with a green salad, crusty roll, and a glass of white wine.

Macaroni Pie

From Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree

 3 c. cooked and drained spaghetti (macaroni)
4 T. butter, melted
4 large eggs, beaten to mix
3 c. milk
1½ t.
Dijon mustard
2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 t. cayenne, optional
1 pound sharp Cheddar or Gruyère cheese, grated

 Preheat oven to 350°F.

 Roughly cut the cooked spaghetti into 3-inch pieces and toss with half the butter. Lightly whisk the eggs with the milk in a large bowl.

 Add the mustard, salt, peppers, and half the cheese. Put half the spaghetti into a greased 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with cheese to cover and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Ladle on half the egg/cheese mixture, top with the rest of the spaghetti. Ladle on the remainder of the mixture and enough cheese and the remaining butter to cover the top. If the dish is deep, it may not need all the cheese.

 Move to the preheated oven. If the dish is less than three inches deep, bake for 30 minutes; if deeper, bake for about 45 minutes. Check and reduce the heat 25 degrees if the cheese is browning too much or the custard is bubbling. Cover lightly with foil and continue to cook until a fork inserted in the custard comes out clean and the top is golden brown, up to 40 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the baking dish.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Supper by the Shore

The late Mr. O-P was from New Jersey, so every summer, sandwiched in between other obligations, we made a trip to the Jersey shore under the guise of visiting friends and family. I miss those days.

While I still have an interest in travel, without him, my heart just isn’t in it. So, I decided that the next best thing would be to enjoy the feel of the shore by way of this seaside table for two.

The versatile round tablecloth in burlap gets a lot of use. In this setting it is topped with a fishnet to give it that true ocean vibe.

 The hurricane at center, wrapped in rope, I bought years ago from Pottery Barn. It’s amazing, how changing the size and color of the candle, makes such a big difference in its overall appearance. I love it!

I decided to go with rustic chargers, so used my favorite tin ones from local shop The White Rabbit. They are topped with chestnut brown nubby-edged plates from Pier One’s spice collection.

The salad plates on top are part of a set of four, each with a different denizen of the sea. They are made in Italy and were purchased years ago from World Market.

The teal napkins and turquoise stemware are from Pier One. The adorable starfish tea-light holders are either from Pier One or Crate & Barrel, I can’t remember which. I have had them a long time and love them.

The bamboo flatware is always great fun and elicits lots of comments. You can find it here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my humble attempt at Seaside dining. Come back next week when high swap a few things around and make this table look entirely different. You can do the same. Sometimes it’s just that easy. See you then!


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This post is linked to: Tablescape Thursday