Sunday, April 13, 2014

Red Skin Potato Salad

This quickly became my all time favorite potato salad recipe. Its got a little zing, so it stands out nicely from all of the others at a picnic table. Like all great favorites, it came from family. I do so love relaxing after a great meal with family and looking across the licked clean dishes and asking "So, can I have the recipe?" Lucky for me (and now you!), Aunt Joann always says yes.

We had a work picnic Friday night, and at 6pm Thursday night I realized I hadn't signed up to bring a food yet! Me, the food blogger!! Next time I'll probably make cupcakes... this group hasn't had my famous red velvet cupcakes yet! Sadly I was so rushed getting this one thrown together that I didn't get a pic snapped at any point. Oops. I love this one though, so I know I'll be making it again soon now that the weather is finally warming up. HOORAY! 

There was lots of potato salad to choose from Friday, but this was my favorite. Of course, I'm a little biased. ;) 

Red-Skinned Potato Salad 

from Aunt Joann


2 lb red skin potatoes
10-12 radishes
1/2 bunch green onions
1 tbsp yellow mustard
mayonnaise to taste
1/4 cup fresh dill (or to taste)


Boil the potatoes in salted water for 30-45 minutes or until soft. (Some sources say as little as 15 minutes, so consider the size of your potatoes.) If you have less time than that, consider cutting them down first.

Once potato salad soft, shock with cold water to cool enough to handle easily and comfortably. Cut into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, slice the radishes into thin slivers and chop the green onions (thinner near the white part, thicker as you get to green) and dill.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to not do gross things to the mayo, combine potatoes, radishes, green onions, and dill. Mix in mustard and mayo. For the mayo, start with 1/4 cup and work up until it looks right. We probably settle near 1/2 cup each batch in this house, but this is highly variable by taste. :)

Your turn! 
What's your go-to picnic or bbq side dish? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lenten Gratuity Week 2

Monday 3/10/14:
chocolate flavored coffee
Rachel's birthday party!
the scissors not breaking the skin when I dropped them on my foot
sunny weather!

Tuesday 3/11/14:
76°F weather
recess with lunch block
new notepad from my Christmas stocking
ice water
staff meeting was quick

Wednesday 3/12/14:
date night with my hubby
homemade pizza
blokus trigon

Thursday 3/13/14:
Happier app
new thermos - keeps chocolate flavored coffee extra hot extra long
extra caffeinated when I got home ;)

Friday 3/14/14:
not as many questions about the science test as I feared
old t-shirt smelled like sunscreen and summer
fluffy comfy bed

Saturday 3/15/14:
having friends over
tea parties
getting Rachel hooked on Doctor Who

Sunday 3/16/14:
lazy rainy days
snuggly kittens

Your turn! How are those Lent commitments going? Was week 2 any harder?
Keep smilin'!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lenten Gratuity Week 1

This year for Lent I am taking on some things instead of giving things up... more of a lifting things up. Don't get me wrong, I am all for giving things up for Lent too. Sophomore year of college I gave up cookies, soda, and ice cream. I had a friend tell me that it wasn't authentic if I gave up something like junk food because it meant I was doing it for myself, or to lose weight, or to look prettier.

Now, let's put aside for a moment that this friend couldn't possibly know what was in my heart when I made that particular commitment for Lent. But even if my motivation was purely to lose weight or be prettier, wouldn't my God want me to take care of myself so I can serve others? If I am a wreck I won't do anyone good.

I did learn some wonderful things that season, and temptation was everywhere, My dorm had cookies, ice cream, and soda CONSTANTLY accessible. It had become a habit to grab one or two of those at every meal I ate in the dining hall. It took constant thought and attention to not slip up or give in.

Still. This year I'm adding, not subtracting. I plan to keep track of things I'm grateful for. I don't want overcomplicate, so I'm just going to plop some weekly wrap-ups here. I'd love if you join in!

Wednesday 3/5/14:
my husband who makes dinner when I have something I need to handle for work
yummy chicken nuggets
Ash Wednesday service
got to see the folks that gave us Lyta

Thursday 3/6/14: 
free bagels at my workshop
lunch at home
workshop let out early
made it to the gym before the rush
strong legs to carry me through a great workout
all my girly shows had new episodes
my husband put our valentine's day cards up on the mantle when he cleaned up

Friday 3/7/14:
it's Friday!
movie day at school
lobster tails on sale
early to bed

Saturday 3/8/14:
sleeping in
fluffy cozy bed
finished a long book
snickerdoodle muffins
date night with Brian - sushi and 007: Skyfall

Sunday 3/9/14:
first Sunday back at church in ages
very productive day
organized all my new stamp sets
wonderful long phone calls with my mom and Sean

Your turn! What are you grateful for right now? Doing anything special for Lent?
Keep smilin'!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

As some of you know, I grew up in Arizona. This means most of my favorite comfort food dishes are things like quesadillas and tacos. Brian has been known to surprise me with tacos when he knows I'm not feeling good. My list of to-learn dishes is half classic French stuff a la Julia Child and half native hispanic and native american dishes like sopapillas and "Indian Fry Bread"/Navajo tacos.

All that said, I'm not a huge fan of super spicy dishes. I like to be able to - you know - taste my food.

Those factors combined, it should come as no surprise to you dear reader that I LOVE this recipe. It is super easy to control how much spice you get, it combines all my favorite things (cheese, pasta, mexican food flavors), and it makes tons of leftovers that re-heat really really well.

Once I put this one on the menu, I crave it all week.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta; creamy delicious pasta dish, makes fantastic leftovers. My comfort food these days, so easy! #weeknightdinner

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

from Navy wife cook


rotisseri chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 red pepper
1 can diced green chiles (4oz)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder (I only use one...)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cans green chili enchilada sauce (10 oz each) (I only use one....)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind - we tend towards cheddar)
1 cup sour cream
penne pasta (we used a 1 lb box)

Toppings: (pick what you like)
green onions
black olives
sour cream

Chicken Enchilada Pasta from Directions:

Shred your chicken. Boil pasta. Chop veggies.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the red pepper and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. 

Add everything except the cheese, pasta, and sour cream (and toppings, duh, those go on top). So that's the green chiles, salt, chili powder, ground cumin, green enchilada sauce, and red enchilada sauce. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until melted. Now turn the heat down to low and add sour cream, but don't let it boil. If it boils, it may curdle the sour cream (everyone says, and I say ew, so I've been careful here.) Stir until sour cream is heated and well mixed in. 

Drain pasta. Combine sauce and pasta, stir well to combine. Serve with toppings of your choice. Sit back and bask in the adoration. 

Your turn!
What is your go-to comfort food?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cucumber Mango Tropical Salad

This is a fantastic side for just about any fish main dish. I discovered it on some mile long list of 12 minute dinner ideas. Now it makes regular appearances in our house!

Cucumber Mango Tropical Salad... serve with simple seafood dishes like seared scallops or salmon.

Cucumber Mango Tropical Salad

by 52 healthy meals 12 minutes or less


1 mango (chopped)
1 small cucumber (peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces)
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro (chopped)


Chop mango and cucumber. Grate the ginger. Squeeze the juice from half a lime. Toss it all together in a bowl.

Yes, it's that easy.

The smells from this one... omg amazing. I wish you could smell this right now.

Every ingredient you add is like... I love this one! No, this one! All the smells layer together so amazingly.

This really makes the meal, so serve it with something that needs a little extra flavor like simple white fish or seared scallops.

This week I served it with pan-seared "smoked" sweet salmon, brown rice, and an amazing bok choy recipe. The ginger really gives it this awesome zing. Add a bottle of inexpensive champagne and toast that it's the weekend! Or Tuesday. Whatever. This recipe is easy and that is worth celebrating!

Your turn! 
What's your go to side dish these days?

Keep cooking!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pan seared "smoked" sweet salmon

Pan seared "smoked" sweet salmon; great with sauteed bok choy and broccoli, easy weeknight dinner!

This is an easy weeknight fish dish. Try it next time salmon is on sale!

Pan Seared "Smoked" Sweet Salmon
a joyful foodie original

Salmon filets
smoked brown sugar (can substitute regular brown sugar if you must, but SO GOOD with the smoked one*)
olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium hight heat. Season the fish (scale side down) with brown sugar (at least a tsp, more depending on your fish, up to about a tbsp should be fine).

Place salmon in the pan skin side down and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low.

a) cover with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the fish, watching for a pale pink cooked color or
b) cook for 4-5 minutes until you see color creeping up the sides and then flip it to cook on the other side for 4-5 minutes.

Pan seared "smoked" sweet salmon

My salmon was thick, so I flipped it.

Transfer to a plate and serve immediately with lots of yummy sides. I recommend cucumber and mango salad, sauteed bok choy and broccoli, and rice.

Pan seared "smoked" sweet salmon; great with sauteed bok choy and broccoli, easy weeknight dinner!

This sugar is also available at Amazon, but its cheaper at Sur la Table, especially if you order enough to get free shipping (orders of $59 or more). And no, Sur la Table is not paying me to say any of this, I just love them. They have such great customer service. :)
If you don't have smoked brown sugar, you could substitute another smoked seasoning, I suspect. Maybe smoked salt, smoked pepper, or even applewood smoked salt? Actually they have a ton of smoked salts, click around a little. :)

Your turn!
So dish! What's your favorite fish recipe? I'm looking for more recipes right now, since Lent starts next week. I just love doing fish Fridays!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

This week's menu

I've been feeling the squeeze in the pants department recently, so this week's menu reflects a return to veggies and simple fare. I'm still doing some richer (re: cheese and pasta) dishes, but trying to do ones that use veggies in them.

February 23 - March 1, 2014
February 23 - March 2, 2014 menu at
We'll just pretend that I didn't mark February 29 and 30 on the menu page....
I thought March was closer than that...

Sunday: rotisserie chicken, asparagus, mushroom and onion cous cous.
Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: Butternut squash mac and cheese
Wednesday: date night! grilled chicken, balsamic glazed carrots, kale
Thursday: pan seared fish (depending on what's on sale), sauteed bok choy and broccoli, mango and cucumber salad, rice
Friday: happy hour with some friends from out of town
Saturday: another rotisserie chicken, ginger green beans, cornbread
Sunday: chicken enchilada pasta

I don't usually plan the next weekend out early, but I've been craving the chicken enchilada pasta for a while now. I would have made it tonight, but this weekend's plans just didn't leave time. My throat is a smidge scratchy tonight though, so spicy is probably better saved anyways.

Your turn!
What have you been craving recently?


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