Refried Beans

I’ve been trying to make refried beans that taste just like my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants for years.  I’ve searched the internet  for a recipe that gives me the flavor I am looking for, but I’ve had no success.  This weekend, Jessica’s boyfriend, Michael made these beans to go with our breakfast enchiladas that we were having for Jessica’s birthday brunch and he graciously taught me the secret to delicious, authentic, homemade refried beans.


2 can of black beans (or pinto) drained with liquid reserved

2 Tbs bacon grease (or olive oil)

2-4 oz of queso fresco cheese (crumbled)

salt and pepper to taste


1.  Heat grease in a medium sized skillet till it is very hot (if you drop a bean into the pan, it should sizzle)

2.  Add beans to skillet and fry (about 5 – 10 minutes).  Stir frequently

3.  Mash beans while adding reserved liquid

4.  Add cheese to taste and stir while it melts

5.  Add salt and pepper to taste

Basic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs 5

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t make these very often, but Geoff and the kids love them.  They are great to take to a summer gathering and always seem to get gobbled up quickly!

12 large eggs

1/3 cup mayo

3 Tbs sweet pickle relish

1 Tbs mustard

1/4 tsp salt

dash of pepper

paprika for garnish

1.  Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches.  Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes.

2.  Drain immediately and fill the saucepan with cold water and ice.  Tap each egg firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell.  Peel under cold, running water.

3.  Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks.  Mash yolks with mayo.  Add relish, mustard, salt, and pepper; stir well.

4.  Sppon yolk mixture into egg whites.  Garnish with paprika

Cameron’s Macaroni and Cheese

My son, Cameron, loves macaroni and cheese.  After Ryan (the cheese hater) left home, I made this macaroni and cheese for Cameron.  He especially loved it after a tough swim workout.  It was his idea to add the cayenne pepper, and I think it really adds a nice flavor.

8 oz. of shells (or any other type of pasta you would like to use)

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups milk

4 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese (don’t use pre-shredded) divided use


  1. Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Over medium heat, melt the butter.
  4. Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the milk.
  6. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

7.  Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.

8.  Pour the sauce over the noodles and mix well

9.  Add 1/2 the noodles to a 9 x 13 dish and sprinkle 1/2 the remaining cheese over the top

10.  Add the other half of the noodles and the rest of the cheese

11.  Dust the top lightly with paprika

12.  Bake 20 minutes at 350

Cauliflower Alfredo

I have never really cared for cauliflower.  I’ll eat it, but I don’t enjoy it.  In 2011, Geoff and I went on the South Beach Diet and I learned that you could make cauliflower taste just like mashed potatoes!  One night, Geoff suggested that we use our alfredo sauce on the cauliflower.  The result was delicious and I’ve been making this side dish ever since.

Cauliflower photographed in Woolworths store i...

Image via Wikipedia

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 stick of butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup of half-n-half

1/2 c to 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (get the kind in the little plastic container found in the cheese section)

salt and pepper to taste

Remove the cauliflower from the stem and break apart.  Place in a microwaveable bowl, cover, and cook about 6-8 minutes until tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Add the 1/2 and 1/2, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly so that it won’t burn.  Sauce should thicken slightly

Drain cauliflower and mix with the sauce


Anna Kay’s Amazing Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Sauce 003

Image by MGF/Lady Disdain via Flickr

This my grandmother ‘s (on my mother’s side) recipe.  She made it for years, and passed the recipe onto my mom.  My mom gave the recipe to me and I have been making it ever since.  Because Mom and Dad Hughey have been on a “Whole Foods” kick recently, I replaced some of the canned ingredients with fresh and leave out the cup of sugar that she used.  The result is amazing.  My friends always ask for this recipe when I take it somewhere.

1 pkg of fresh cranberries prepared using the directions for  cranberry sauce found on the bag.

1 pkg Cranberry Jello (use cherry or raspbery if you can’t find it)

1 whole orange (ground up, peel and all except seeds)

1 Whole large Apple(cored and ground up) or diced small.

1 fresh pineapple chopped up very finely

1/2 to 1 Cup chopped pecans

Mix 1 Cup boiling water with jello, mix well and let stand till syrupy in frig.

In seperate bowl put cranberry sauce, orange, apple,  and pineapple.

Add jello mixture and nuts. Mix well, refrigerate till jello sets up but better over night.

Sauteed Green Beans

This is my family’s favorite Green Bean recipe.  It is easy to make.   The secret is in the bacon grease and chopped bacon!

1 3/4 lbs fresh green beans with ends trimmed

1/4 c water

8 Bacon Slices

5 Green onions chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

  • Place beans and 1/4 cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and pierce plastic wrap with a fork. Microwave at HIGH 4 to 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Plunge green beans into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well, and set aside.
  • Cook chopped bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in a small bowl. Discard remaining drippings. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.
  • Sauté green onions in skillet in hot reserved drippings over medium-high heat 1 minute. Stir in green beans, salt, and pepper; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in bacon.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

These potatoes make your entire house smell wonderful while they cook.  I keep fresh rosemary growing year round so that I can have these potatoes whenever I want!  They are super duper easy to make and go well with any kind of meat. 

2 lbs red potatoes

3 Tbs Olive Oil

1 Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Tsp Black Pepper

1-2 Tbs Chopped Fresh Rosemary

1.  Preheat oven to 450

2.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and then spray with cooking spray

3.  Slice potatoes in half and wash.  Drain well

4.  Mix the oil, salt, black pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl.

5.   Add potatoes and toss with the oil mixture

6.  Spread potatoes onto cookie sheet.

7.  Cook 25-30 minutes until browned

Authentic Mexican Rice

This rice is amazing.  Better than any Spanish rice you will ever get in a restaurant.  Many of my Hispanic friends are surpised that I know how to make rice that tastes as good as their mamas, and immedietely want to know where I learned to make this rice.  My son, Ryan, especially loves this rice

Mexican Rice

2 Tbs Bacon grease

1/2 to 1 c. chopped onion (optional)

2 cups rice

4 Tbs of Knorr Brand Caldo de Tomate (found in soup aisle)

4 cups of water

1.  Brown rice and onion in hot grease until rice is very brown (almost burned).  You must stir constantly

2.  Mix together the Caldo de Tomate and water

3.  Pour Water mixture into browned rice, bring to boil, then turn heat down to medium low and cook covered for 20 minutes.  DO NOT STIR!