Spicy Brisket Tacos

Here is a perfect weekend recipe.  Put it in the oven in the morning and forget about it.  You can spend your afternoon doing chores and running errands and when you get home, you will have a delicious, spicy meal waiting for you.  Just be sure and pick up some refried beans from your favorite Mexican restaurant before you get home!  This brisket is a little spicy so adjust the heat level if you are feeding kiddos.

The ingredients:

2-3 lbs. of brisket

1 tablespoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cups beef stock or water

2 cups tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoon ground ancho chili powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke

12 warm tortillas

Cilantro, lime wedges, and chopped onion for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 325. Season the meat with salt and pepper all over..
  2. In a dutch oven, heat oil over high heat.  Brown meat for about 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Add tomato sauce, broth, and onion.  Cook covered for four hours in a 325 degree oven.  Check the meat.  If it is starting to get tender, it is time to add seasonings
  4. Add seasonings and more water if the brisket is dry.  Cook the last hour uncovered so that the gravy will thicken up.
  5. Shred the brisket with a fork.

6.  Serve on warmed tortillas with lime, cilantro, and onion.


Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This casserole feeds a big crowd so I usually make it in 2 9″ square foil pans.  We eat one and freeze the other.  Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, you can top it with chopped fresh tomatoes and green onion tops to make it look prettier.



1 1/3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup canned chopped green chiles, drained

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup fat-free sour cream

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2  (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted (such as Campbell’s)

1  garlic clove, minced

Cooking spray

18  (6-inch) corn tortillas

4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 – 1.5 lbs)

2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Spread 1 cup soup mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 6 tortillas over the soup mixture, and top with 1 cup chicken and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese. Spread remaining soup mixture over cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

World’s Easiest Pot Roast

This is a foolproof way of making a perfect pot roast in your crockpot. You can make this recipe before church on Sunday  and it will be ready when you get home if you cook it on high.  Or you can cook it all day while you are gone to work if you cook it on low.  Either way, the result is delicious!!!!!


2 (10.75 ounce) cans  condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix

1 1/4 cups water

4 pounds pot roast


  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.    (I usually brown my roast before placing it in the crockpot, but you don’t have too)

2.  Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

Basic Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs 5

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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

Pecan Crusted Salmon

Ever since I ate the Pecan Crusted Trout at Roaring Fork, I’ve been using pecans to crust all kinds of things.  Some dishes have turned out better than others, but this one was a winner!  When Geoff bit into this salmon, he said, “Wow, that is good!”  I found this recipe at Kalyn’s Kitchen.  If you would like a great resource for South Beach friendly recipes, you should visit her blog.  She is very passionate about the South Beach Way of Living and I’m sure you’ll find many delicious recipes there!


1 lb salmon

Creole Seasoning (or any other seasoning rub you like)

4 T finely chopped pecans

1 T Dijon mustard

1 tsp. mayo

Preheat oven to 425

Sprinkle salmon with whatever seasoning you are using
Finely chop the pecans with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Mix together the Dijon mustard and mayo in a small bowl and spread it over the surface of the salmon, until it’s completely covered.
Sprinkle the pecans over the fish, pressing them down so they stick.
Roast the salmon for 10-12 minutes, or until it feels barely firm to the touch when it’s pressed with your finger.  (I had to cook a little longer because my salmon fillet was really thick on one end)

Apple, Cheese and Walnut Salad

Quick, easy, and delicious.  Enough said!

8 cups torn, mixed salad greens

2 medium pink lady apples, halved, cored, and sliced very thin

Vinaigrette dressing (see recipe below)

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup coarsely chopped, toasted, walnuts


3 Tbs olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 tsp digon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

Whisk all dressing ingredients together

In a large bowl, combine salad greens and apple slices.  Andd vinaigrette to salad; toss gently to coat.  Arrange salad on large platter, sprinkle with cheese and walnuts

Tex-Mex Carne Guisada

The best thing about this recipe (apart from the wonderful taste) is that after you brown the meat and get it all mixed up, you can just place it in the oven and forget about it for 1-2 hours.  This is a great weekend meal served with warm tortillas and maybe some beans and rice.

2 – 2.5 lbs of beef chuck roast or bottom round cut into 1 inch pieces (or use stew meat)

kosher salt and coarse ground pepper

2 tbs oil

1 cup diced onion

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

6 Tbs flour

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 large, good quality tomato, diced (I use about 5-6 of the small campari tomatoes)

1 1/2 cups hot water

1.  Heat oven to 325

2.  Heat oil in a dutch oven, salt and pepper the meat  and then brown

3.  Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno and cook for 2-3 additional minutes

4.  Add flour, cumin, and chili powder.  Cook about 1 minute and then slowly add the water and tomatoes

5.  Cover and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally and add additional water if necessary.

6.  You will know when the guisada is done because the meat will flake easily and the gravy will be thick.

7.  Serve with warm tortillas

Sausage-Stuffed Jalapenos

I made these little guys for Super Bowl Sunday.  I was looking for a low carb snack and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  The peppers were not hot at all and were balanced out nicely by the cream cheese mixture.  Jessica, who will not normally eat jalapeno peppers loved these!

Jalapeños20 fresh jalapenos

1 16 oz pkg regular breakfast sausage

1 8 oz packages cream cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1.  Cut stems off and slice jalapenos lengthwise in half.  Remove seeds.

2.  Heat oven to 375.  Brown sausage, crumbling while cooking; drain.

3.  Combine cooked sausage, cream cheese, parmesan cheese and garlic salt in a mixing bowl.

4.  Stuff each jalapeno with sausage mixture.

5.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the tops are browned and jalapenos are cooked and soft.

Tomato Pesto Appetizer

I have been looking forward to trying this recipe for a long time.  I clipped it out of the San Antonio Taste section of the paper in January and vowed to make it for Super Bowl Sunday.   All I can say is that it was worth the wait!   Just four ingredients, yet so delicious!

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese

English: A pack of organic cherry tomatoes, fr...

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1 7 oz jar pesto

1 6 oz container freshly grated parmesan cheese

6 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

crackers for serving

1.  Heat oven to 350.  Place both blocks of cream cheese in an 8 x 8 baking dish

2.  Pour pesto over cream cheese; sprinkle on parmesan cheese and tomatoes

3.  Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve with crackers

Creamy Italian Dressing aka Olive Garden Italian Dressing

I am not a big fan of Olive Garden, but I love their Italian Salad dressing.  This recipe allows you to make your own dressing and control what goes into the dressing.  I make mine in the blender and then store it in a mason jar. 

2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian dressing
1 1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper (or more or less to taste)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2c. plus 1 tbsp. water

Mix all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Store in a container with a tight fitting lid so that you can shake it well before each use.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Caper Sauce

Geoff and I recently ate at the Roaring Fork and I had a Pecan Crusted Trout with a caper sauce that was really fantastic.  I’ve been on the lookout for a recipe ever since.  I found a recipe for pecan crusted trout from Cooking Light and found the lemon caper sauce here.  We used Tilipia because it is so much more economical and it came out wonderful.

Pecan-Crusted Tilapia

All-purpose flour for dusting fish

1 egg, beaten to blend

¼ cup finely ground pecans

¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, unflavored

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

1 – 2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper the fish, coat lightly with flour and dip in a beaten egg. Combine the pecans and bread crumbs and dredge fish in nut mixture. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet large enough to accommodate the fish. Do not crowd the fish and, if necessary, cook in batches. Place the fish in the pan and cook, turning once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the fish, cover and keep warm. Serves four. If desired, drizzle the Butter Caper sauce over fish. 

Optional Butter Caper Sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 lemon wedges

 1.  Pour white wine into the skillet, and allow to boil as you dissolve the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, and allow to come to a boil, cook for a few minutes until reduced by half.

2.   Sprinkle the cubed butter into the boiling sauce. Swirl and shake the pan vigorously to dissolve the butter, thus thickening the sauce. The butter must never come to rest, or the sauce will separate and become oily. Once the butter has completely incorporated, remove from heat and stir in capers.

Broiled Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

Geoff and I love Buffalo Wings.  When I learned how easy they were to make, and how diet friendly they are for South Beach, I began to make them quite frequently.  We have these often during the football season while we watch our favorite games.

2 1/2 lbs chicken wings

3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot (get the heat level you prefer, but we like ours hot!)

3 large ribs celery, cut into sticks

1 recipe blue cheese dip (recipe follows)

Preheat broiler to high

1.  Place the wings on a broiler pan (make sure it is about 5 to 6 inches from the flame)and broil until the skin begins to blister and brown, about 10 minutes.  Turn the wings over and broil 10 minutes more.

4.  Transfer the wings to a large bowl and coat with Franks Hot Wing Sauce


1/4 cup plain Greek style non-fat yogurt

2 tbs mayonnaise

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

salt to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, and blue cheese.  Mash any large chunks of blue cheese with the back of a spoon to integrate the cheese into the dip.  Serve at room temp.

1/4 of the wings + 1/4 of the dip = 260 calories, 5 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of fat.

Perfect Apple Pie

Many years ago, I bought this little contraption at a Pampered Chef party called an apple, peeler, corer, slicer.  The Hughey kids had a blast peeling apples with this little gadget because the peel would come off in one big, long, strand.  They thought it was hilarious to turn this apple peel strand into a jump rope.  Needless to say, I had to find a use for all those cored, peeled, and sliced apples, so I began making this recipe.

1 15 oz Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (or make your own for a healthier version)

6 cups thinly sliced granny smith apples

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tbs lemon juice


1.  Heat oven to 425. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for two crust pie using a 9 inch pie pan

2.  In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, mix lightly.   Spoon into crust-lined pan.  Top with 2nd crust and flute the edges.  Cut slits in several places.

3.  Bake at 425 for 40 to 45 minuts or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.

House Salt

I keep this in a shaker by my stover and use it almost everyday.  We put it on steak, chicken, pork, vegis, you name it.  It literally makes everything taste better!This is the shortest recipe I will ever post here, but one you will thank me for over and over.  I think this recipe came from Paula Dean, but I’m not sure because I have been making it so long.

1 c. kosher salt (don’t use regular salt)

1/4 cup garlic powder

1/4 cup good quality pepper

Mix ingredients together and sprinkle on just about everything!



Chicken Parmesan

Geoff and I made this dish at least once a week last year while we were on the
South Beach diet.  We served it with a side of broccoli and no pasta.  We still make it frequently because it is a perfect weeknight meal that will be ready in less than 30 minutes.

1/2 cup Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs

1/4 up graded parmesan cheese

1 pkg chicken breast (about 1.5 lbs)

1 cup buttermilk

3 Tbs oil

2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

8 ounces of spaghetti, freshlycooked and drained

1.  Place chicken breasts into a ziploc bag and pound to flatten to an even thickness.  Cut the breasts in half.

2.  Mix bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese.  Dip chicken in buttermilk, then bread crumbs to coat.

3.  Heat oil in a medium-size skillet.  Add chicken and cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until browned.  Remove from skillet; pour off fat.

3.  Add pasta sauce.  Bring to a boil, add chicken, reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink in midddle.

4.  Top chicken with mozarella cheese.  Cover and heat until melted.  Serve with spaghetti (or broccoli!)


Baked Ziti

This is a recipe that Geoff and I have prepared often on a Sunday afternoon.  We prepare it in 2 square foil pans instead of a 13 x 9 and then put one in the freezer.  It is such a great feeling when you are having a busy week to know that all you have to do is take this frozen meal out of your freezer and cook as soon as you get home. 


1/2 cup chopped onion

1 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

1 26 oz jar tomato and basil pasta sauce

3/4 tsp salt, divided

16 oz box of ziti pasta

3 tbs butter

3 tbs all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp pepper

8 oz  shredded mozzarella cheese


1.  Sautee chopped onion in hot oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat 5 minute sor until tender.  Add garlic, and sautee 1 minute.

2.  Add beef, and cook, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink.  Drain beef mixture, and return to pan.  Stir in pasta sauce and 1/2 tsp salt.

3.  Cook pasta acccording to directions.

4.  Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

5.  Whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in parmesan cheese, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper.

6.  Pour sauce over pasta in dutch oven, stirring until pasta is evenly coated.

7.  Transfer pasta mixture to a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Top evenly with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

8.  Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.




Breakfast Enchiladas

This recipe has a very funny story behind it.  It is very common for Geoff and I to make 3 to 4 recipes on a Sunday afternoon and then put them up in the freezer for later use.  One day we made 2 trays of chicken enchiladas, 2 trays of breakfast enchiladas and 2 trays of Baked Ziti.  When it came time to put them in the freezer, we covered them with foil and labeled them.  One morning, when we had our extended family visiting, I pulled out a tray of breakfast enchiladas and stuck them into the oven.  An hour later, we all sat down to breakfast to find that I had mislabeled the pans and my breakfast enchiladas were in fact the chicken enchiladas.  Everyone had a good laugh over this and then proceeded to eat them anyway!


1  (1-pound) package hot ground pork sausage

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

4  green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

14  large eggs, beaten

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cheese Sauce (See recipe below)

8  (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños

Toppings: halved grape tomatoes, sliced green onions, chopped fresh cilantro


Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove from pan; drain well, pressing between paper towels.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onions and cilantro, and sauté 1 minute. Add eggs, salt, and pepper, and cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set on bottom. Draw a spatula across bottom of pan to form large curds. Continue to cook until eggs are thickened but still moist; do not stir constantly. Remove from heat, and gently fold in 1 1/2 cups Cheese Sauce and sausage.

Spoon about 1/3 cup egg mixture down the center of each flour tortilla; roll up. Place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13- x- 9-inch baking dish. Pour remaining Cheese Sauce evenly over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.


Cheese Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1  (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and whisk in remaining ingredients.

Breakfast Pizza

This recipe is great for a weekend breakfast or even a “Breakfast for Dinner” night.  I clipped this recipe out of a Cooking Light magazine many years ago and have enjoyed it many times over the years.  The original recipe called for Turkey sausage and egg beaters, but I’m not a fan of either so I modified the recipe to my liking.


1 can crescent rolls

Cooking spray

1 lb breakfast sausage

1 cup frozen shredded hash browns, thawed

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 eggs

2 Tbs fresh parmesan cheese


1.  Preheat oven to 375

2.  Separate dough into triangles.  Press triangles together to form a single round crust on a 12-inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray.  Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.

3.  Cook sausage in a large sillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.

4.  Top prepared dough with sausage, potatoes, and cheese.  Combine milk, salt, pepper, and egg substitute, stirring with a whisk.  Carefully pour milk mixture over sausage mixture.  Sprinkle with parmesan and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Texas Sheet Cake

I don’t know how this recipe got its name, because I think everyone in America has a recipe for Texas Sheet cake in their recipe box. I think the name probably has something to do with the fact that it is baked in a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan instead of the traditional 9 x 13 pan.  I clipped this recipe from a Cooking Light magazine many years ago.  It was in their “Lighten Up” section where readers sent in their favorite recipes and the staff at Cooking Light made them lighter.

My favorite thing about this recipe is how time efficient it is.  Mix up the batter and cook.  While cake is cooking, mix up frosting.  As soon as the cake is done (in only 15 minutes), pour the frosting over the hot cake.  You don’t have to wait for the cake to cool before you frost it.  This means that I can prepare this huge cake in less than 30 minute and be out of the kitchen!


Cooking spray

2 tsp flour

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs


1/2 stick of butter (no margarine please!)

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375

2. To prepare cake, coat a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray, dust with 2 tsp flour

3.  Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife.  Combne 2 cups flour and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl, stir well with a whisk.

4.  Combine water, 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.

5.  Add buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and eggs, beat well.

6.   Pour batter into pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

7.  To prepare icing, combine 1/2 cup butter, milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and graudually stir in powdered sugar, pecans and vanilla.  Spread over hot cake.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Grilled Tenderloin with Warm Vegetable Salad

This recipe is one reason why I am completely in love with the South Beach Way of Living.  The food you get to eat is so delicious that you never miss the sugar or the starches that you aren’t eating.  This is a little pricey for a big family, but it is perfect for a special occasion and easy enough for a weeknight meal.

4 (4 ounce) beef tenderloin steaks (about 1 inch thick)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper, divided

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise

2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise (I usually use Campari tomatoes)

2 green onions

2 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tsp bottled minced garlic

cooking spray

1 tbs commercial pesto

1.  prepare grill

2.  Sprinkle steaks with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper

3.  Combine the rest of the salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, zucchini, and next 5 ingredients in a large zip lock bag.  Seal and shake to coat.

4.  Place the tenderloin steaks on grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

5.  Place the zucchini and yellow squash on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray and cook 3 minutes on each side or until tender.  Place the tomato and onions on grill rack or broiler pan and cook 2 minutes.

6.  Coarsely chop the vegetables, and place in a bowl.  Add pesto, stir gently and serve with steaks.

Calories:  245 for 1 steak and 1/4 of the vegetables, Fat:  10 grams, Carb:  10.4 g, Fiber 4.1 g