What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips


There are several variations of fruit salsa floating around these days.  Here is Laura Lee's using apples, peaches, a clementine, and strawberries.  Peaches are at their peak right now and strawberries are still abundant, so I loaded up with those.  I'm sure any combination of diced fruit would work really well.  It's then glazed with apple jelly mixed with brown sugar.  T'was the perfect snack this afternoon for four little fishies when they returned from swimming at the neighbor's pool.

Fruit Salsa

  • 1 peach, diced
  • 2 tart apples, diced
  • 10 or so strawberries, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clementine or orange, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple jelly 
For the cinnamon tortilla chips I sprayed 6 tortillas with Pam and then sprinkled them liberally with sugar and cinnamon before cutting them into wedges.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Just watch them and don't let them get too brown like I did my first batch....


Pesto Tomato Pizza


In the summertime we start craving these sandwiches made from French bread, pesto, tomato, and slices of mozzarella cheese.   Sometimes, however, you just have to be a little creative in the kitchen.  I was out of French bread, but I knew I could mix up some pizza dough in a hurry.

Normally I would make my own fresh pesto using basil I grew in my herb garden.  The fresh basil just explodes with flavor.  Why was I too lazy to stick a basil plant in the dirt a couple months ago?  I'm paying for that now.  Happily, I discovered store-bought pesto actually worked really well.  I was a little surprised at the intensity of the flavor.  The fact that it had big chunks of garlic didn't hurt, for sure.

Four of us pretty much killed this at lunch yesterday.  There were two slices left, so technically, it could feed five of us if it had to.  This made a very generous 15" pizza.

Mix up a batch of pizza dough.

I park mine, covered, on the table outside for an hour or so.

Have I told you how much I love this gadget?  
It makes quick work of rolling pizza dough.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees then bake the crust for about five minutes.

Top the pre-baked crust with about half of an 8 ounce jar of pesto, 
or preferably, use homemade pesto.

Slice about three very ripe Roma tomatoes.  Romas are denser and have less water content than most tomatoes.  Any tomato will do, but you'll want to lay the slices on paper towels to remove some moisture first if you don't use Romas.

Top all that with about 1/2 pound of sliced mozzarella cheese.  
Yes, you can use grated mozzarella, but sliced has a better flavor in my opinion, 
and looks more, you know....


I just realized I wrote "about a half a jar", "about three tomatoes", "about 1/2 pound of sliced mozzarella."  That's the beauty of this type of recipe; you don't have to be exact for it to be delicious!

Now bake it an additional 10 minutes or so.  Just keep your eye on it.  Honestly, your nose will let you know when it's ready.  It will be about the time you're ready to yank the door off the oven anyway.

Mangiare felice!


Caramel Rolls


These gooey caramel rolls will fill your home with a heavenly aroma!  I don't bake these very often because they are somewhat involved, but when I'm in the mood for one, nothing else quite hits the spot!  I make a double batch of these for our big family.  There are plenty to share with friends, too, that way.  Normally I put pecans on all of them, but this time I left half of them pecan-less for our non-nut-loving guests.  These are amazing warm out of the oven, but they reheat nicely the next day as well.  If you have a lazy day to mess about in the kitchen a while, these rolls will be a big hit with your family.  Share the love!

Start by heating the butter, milk, salt and sugar till warm.

Add some of the flour and the egg to the butter mixture.

Now stir in the rest of the flour to make a soft dough.

Form a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for a couple hours.

Toward the end of the dough rising time, start mixing up the caramel ingredients:
butter, brown sugar, corn syrup.

Heat slowly until mixed well then pour
in bottom of your baking pan.

After a couple hours, your dough should look like this.

My favorite part--punching the dough!

Roll out the dough and spread with the melted butter.

Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the dough.
Roll up jelly roll style.

Use thread or floss to cut the rolls.  Slide the thread under the rolls and bring
the ends across the top and cross over, pulling to cut the dough.

Lay the rolls in the pan atop the caramel.
Let them rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Bake to lightly golden, about 20 minutes.

Turn rolls out onto serving platter.

Basic Roll Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon yeast
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast.  Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt until just warm, stirring constantly until butter melts.  Add to dry mixture; add egg.  Beat by hand 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Form into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise till double, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Punch down dough.  

Caramel Rolls

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Roll out dough into a 12X8" rectangle and spread with melted butter.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll up jelly roll style, starting with long end.  Cut into 12 rolls.

In a saucepan mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 tablespoon light corn syrup.  Heat slowly.  Pour into an 8X8" baking pan.  Place rolls over caramel mixture in pan.  Cover and let rise until double, 30-45 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees about 20 minutes.  Cool for a couple minutes then invert onto serving plate.  Makes 12 rolls.


Have a warm and delicious Saturday!


Blackberry Roll


When our older children were small, we lived in a neighborhood that had a long walking path winding around the border of the property.  Countless blackberry bushes grew along that path, so on summer evenings we had a picking frenzy for a week or two.  Reaching through those thorny briars trying to avoid getting scratched was challenging but fun, knowing the pay-off was piles of perfectly plump, sweet fruit for eating by the handful or making into a pie.  The children loved this adventure and looked forward to it every year.

One of my favorite recipes for a summertime treat is this blackberry roll.  It's simple to roll out the dough, pile it with sugar-covered blackberries, roll it jelly-roll style, drizzle with butter and bake.  We top it off with whipped cream, naturally.







Blackberry Roll

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or more
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease a long shallow baking pan.  Sift flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt together in mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture is mealy looking.  Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough.  (Use fork.)

Roll out dough on floured board into a 12X16 inch rectangle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Wash and drain berries and mix with 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour.  Spread berries over rectangle of dough and roll up as compactly as possible.  

Seal ends of roll, press together with tines of fork.  Now place it in greased baking pan, brush top with melted butter.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees then reduce oven to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 45 minutes longer, until crust is brown.  

To serve, cut roll in thick slices, serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 8.



Stacked Sweet Corn Bean and Beef Casserole

I love it when a plan comes together.  Only this time, the plan didn't exactly come together.  You see, I bought all the ingredients to make this amazing-sounding stacked tortilla dish. The original recipe, straight from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, recommended using a spring form pan to layer the 9" tortillas and filling into, which would serve to hold it all together during assembly and baking.  The vision I had was of popping away the sides of the pan after baking, resulting in a gorgeous presentation fit for a blog post.

Problem was, my tortillas were too small.  They were closer to 7" diameter and so they were completely lost in the spring form pan.  Oh well.  No biggie.  I just substituted an oval casserole and tore the tortillas to fit.  The end result was the same.  This casserole was delicious and all my little (and big) people wanted second helpings.  I'll be making it again very soon.

This was my first time trying chorizo sausage.  I asked Abby if I could substitute some other sausage, say Italian, and she practically laughed at the suggestion.  It appears that chorizo is a staple in Mexican food and can't be substituted without sacrificing authentic flavor.  I'm glad I listened to her.  It's spicy, but not terribly hot.  Not going to burn your mouth out or anything like that.  Mixing the beef with the chorizo is perfect.

This recipe isn't one I'd place in the super quick and easy category, but it's a great one to try if you have a few extra minutes. It really doesn't take that long to put together and it tastes so fresh.  I loved the addition of the corn right off the cob.  It takes a minute to cut it off the cob, but the extra couple minutes are worth it.  I would have used a yellow pepper if I could have gotten my mitts on one.  I was at Aldi, and they had green peppers, so I made do.  Just know that yellow pepper would have been prettier!

I suggest you try this if your family likes Mexican food.  Just be sure to buy the right size tortillas, hear?

Brown the beef and chorizo.

Here is the chorizo you're looking for.
This came from Aldi, but all the groceries carry it.
You'll need to squeeze it out of its casing.

Work that corn.

Throw in the drained beans.

Saute' the onions, peppers, and garlic in another pan.

Add the salsa, corn, and spices.

Layer two tortillas.

Layer meat/beans and some cheese.

Another tortilla.

Layer another tortilla, then the veggies, and more cheese. 
Finish with a tortilla on top and wrap the whole 
thing in foil to seal before baking.

Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean, and Beef Casserole

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 8 oz. ground beef
  • 7 oz. uncooked chorizo sausage
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion-chopped
  • 1 large yellow sweet pepper-chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4  8-9" flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

  • chopped tomatoes and cilantro and sour cream for garnishes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut corn from cob.  Grease 9 " spring form pan. 

Cook beef and chorizo-- drain.  Add beans.

In another skillet heat oil.  Add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Cook 10 minutes.  Add corn, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne.  Cook 5 minutes.

Place two tortillas in greased pan.  Top with meat.  Reserve 1/4 cup cheese.  Divide remaining 1 1/4 cups cheese in half.  Sprinkle one half on meat.  Add another tortilla, veggies, and other half of cheese.  Add final tortilla.  Cover loosely with foil.  

Bake 10 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese.  

Bake 10 minutes more.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Remove sides from pan.

Top with sour cream, tomatoes, and cilantro, if desired.

Six servings.

If you want to see a good photo of what this was supposed to look like click here...  Someone obviously read the ingredient list more closely that I did.