Philly Cheese Quesadilla

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Like a lot of people I love a really good Philly Cheese-steak sandwich and have a favorite place to get one. I also like to cook and come up with new recipes and share those with people.  So this weekend I was looking though the fridge to see what I had and my “mad scientist” brain kicked into effect. I wanted a cheese-steak but didn’t want all of the bread. I started pulling stuff out of the fridge and setting in on the counter to see what I could come up with and so the Philly cheese-steak quesadilla was born. Here is what I did.

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1 lb 93% fat free ground beef
4 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 chopped jalapeno
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4oz of fat free shredded cheddar
1 pack of small flour tortillas

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Start browning the ground beef over medium high heat and when it gets mostly brown (not quite all of the way) add in the onions and peppers and continue to cook until the beef gets brown and the onions and peppers soften up. Now reduce the heat to low add in the seasonings (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and stir together and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Once that is done remove the mixture from the pan and put it into a bowl. Now add both cheeses and stir together into a thick paste.

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Take one of the tortillas and spread the paste out on top covering it in a nice even layer to about a 1/4″ from the ends. Then place another tortilla on top.
You will want to have a pan heated to medium high heat ready to cook these. You can use the same one you cooked the meat in or a different one, its up to you. Place the quesadilla in the pan and let it brown (about 30 to 40 seconds. Press it with a spatula to get a nice even browning. Now carefully flip it over and do the other side. You will notice that the mixture inside will start to ooze slightly. This is a good and yummy thing. Once that other side has browned remove it from the pan and place on a plate and cut in half. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to feed everyone, or at least until you run out of tortillas.

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All that is left now is to sit back and enjoy. This is a relatively low fat enjoyable little meal. I hope you all like it.

Thanks for reading

Poppers that Pop

If you are just in the mood for a bite sized treat or making something for the big game jalapeno poppers are sure to please. These little spicy bites of heaven have been passed around parties for as long as I can remember and since there never seem to be any leftover the next day I will go out on a limb and say that people must really like them. I know I do. I have tried many different varieties over the years and everyone seems to have their own special way of doing them. Some swear by the type of bacon you need or the size of the jalapeno and even the brand of cream cheese for the perfect flavor. For some its a science and for others its just something you throw together to please the party goers. Either way they always seem to turn out great. For this recipe I have taken a couple of elements from several different poppers that I have tried and come up with what I will now call my “go to popper”.

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What you need. (This is for a small batch to serve 3 to 4 people)

12 large raw jalapenos (whole)

1 8oz container of Philadelphia fat free cream cheese

1 lb hickory smoked bacon

1 lb maple breakfast sausage

at least 24 toothpicks

Prep and cooking.

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First get the sausage started cooking in a pan on the stove over medium heat. You want to get it nice and brown and crunchy for texture.

Now while the sausage is cooking, cut the stem end off of the peppers and then cut them in half long ways so it looks like you have a fleet of little green boats. Be sure to remove all of the seeds and white membrane inside.

The sausage should now be done and ready to drain any fat off of. Just line a bowl with paper towels and poor the sausage in. The paper towels will absorb most of the fat. Now gently pull the paper towels out from under the sausage and out of the bowl. You will leave a little fat in there but it will be fine because you have gotten most of it out. Now mix in the cream cheese with the sausage until you get a nicely mixed paste.

Now for the fun part.

With a spoon go ahead and start filling each jalapeno half to the top. You don’t want it to overflow that much but make sure it is full.

Once you have all of the halves full open the bacon and cut the entire slab in half. Half a slice of bacon is perfect to wrap around the center of the jalapeno. You will hold the bacon in place by sliding a toothpick through from one side to the other.

Now it is time to cook them. You can do this a couple of different ways. My preferred method is on the grill. Turn it on medium high heat and let the grill heat up. If you have a top rack I like to sit them up there for a few minutes with the grill closed but it is not needed. Place the poppers on the grill and cook until the bacon looks done. You don’t want to get it too crisp but you do want it to be thoroughly cooked. You will most likely get a few black ends but don’t worry, they taste better that way.

You may want to keep a spray bottle of water on hand while cooking these. The bacon is going to drip and it will cause flare ups when the grease catches on fire.

That is how you make poppers that pop. They turned out great and that is why these will now be my “go to poppers”. If you are feeling a little adventurous try sprinkling just a little garlic powder on top before sticking them on the grill.

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I hope that you all enjoy these.

Thanks for reading,


Taco Lasagna

Yes you read that right, I said Taco Lasagna. I enjoy trying to come up with new ways to present different dishes. This time I thought it would be good to make something with that Tex Mex flavor but be presented in an all in one meal like lasagna, so I combined the ingredients for tacos and came up with a fun way to put it together to mimic the looks of lasagna. Here is what you need.



2 lbs lean ground beef

18 small corn tortillas

4 fresh jalapenos (seeded and diced)

1 medium white onion (diced)

1 10 ounce can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

8 ounces of sharp shredded cheddar

10 ounces of part skim queso fresco (crumbled into small pieces)

1 can of low fat refried beans

8 ounces of sour cream (I used low fat)

1/2 cup Fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

1/2 cup Green onion (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of chili powder

2 tablespoons of black pepper

1 tablespoon of kosher salt

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Prep and cooking

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapeno until the onion starts to turn clear. Then add the garlic and ground beef. Once the beef is browned add in the can of Rotel and the spices and stir together. Now add the can of refried beans and stir all together. This will make a nice thick mixture that you will use as filling for the lasagna. Set that aside and get ready to start assembling.

Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. In a large (5 quart) baking dish thoroughly coat the bottom and sides with a non stick cooking spray. Now lay out 6 corn tortillas to cover the bottom. Spread out a layer of the meat mixture about 1/2 inch thick on top of the tortillas (you will use about half of the meat) Now add a thin coating of sour cream and then cover that with about half of the queso fresco.  Add another layer of six tortillas and repeat the layering process. After the second layer is done add the last six tortillas and then cover with any left over queso and sour cream. For the final step you will want to cover the top with the shredded cheddar and then add the diced onion and cilantro to finish it off.

Stick this in a preheated to 350 degree oven uncovered for about an hour (or until the cheese on top starts to brown slightly. All that is left to do is let t cool a bit and then cut it into nice square servings just like lasagna. It is great by itself or covered with a little salsa.

I hope you like this one. It is a fun way to put a twist on something the whole family should enjoy.

Thanks for reading,


Brunswick Stew

Today we are going to talk about an old southern classic and family favorite of mine, Brunswick stew.  This is a nice hearty BBQ style stew that packs a lot of flavor into each bite. If you search for Brunswick stew online you are going to find many different recipes and and ways to prepare this stew and you will see that many of them are completely different in their approach to doing it. There are so many variations in fact that its hard to imagine most of them tasting how this stew should taste which is why I set out to see if I could do it justice. When I was coming up with this recipe taste was first and foremost on my mind. Brunswick stew has a unique flavor that has a hint of BBQ, a little smokiness, a little sweet taste and a great black pepper flavor. Traditionally this stew is mostly made with left over BBQ bits. If you have left over pork, brisket, chicken etc, they all get shredded up and tossed into a pot with a bunch of veggies and cooked into a stew. This is what gives this stew its unique BBQ taste. Surprisingly I did not have any left overs this time so I went in a little bit different direction but it still came out pretty amazing.


Here is what you need.

Crock Pot

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1 large sweet onion (Vidalia if you can find them) (diced)

2 Jalapenos (chopped with seeds)

1 small bag frozen Lima beans

1 small bag frozen corn

3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes (diced)

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons of liquid smoke

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons of chili sauce (sriracha sauce)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 table spoons black pepper

1 cup sweet BBQ sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Rays)

Prep and cooking

Boil your chicken breasts in a pot of water until the are cooked through then set aside to cool a bit. Do not pour out the water as you will be using this as stock for your stew.

In your crock pot add the crushed tomatoes,onion, potatoes, jalapeno, corn and Lima beans. Now pour enough chicken stock over it to come to the top of the veggies (don’t completely cover them, this is stew not soup).

Now break apart the chicken, shredding it in to small pieces and add to the pot.

Now add everything else and stir it all together.

Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high heat for about 5 hrs, then reduce to low and cook for another 2 hrs. If you are around you may want to give it a stir about half way through but if not its not a big deal.

I really hope that you all enjoy this stew. It is something that I grew up with and is an old southern tradition that just tastes great. Its unique flavor is something that you don’t taste every day. So scoop out a nice bowl full and grab a roll or piece of bread and enjoy a new experience. You wont be disappointed.

Thanks for Reading


Mojo Roasted Pork

Or Cuban roasted pork. Either way it is delicious.

If you have read my previous blog posts you will probably know that one of the things I miss about living in FL is the Cuban food. I showed you all a while back how to make a classic Cuban sandwich and now I will show you how to do Mojo roasted pork. This is a pretty simple recipe but takes awhile to cook. So prepare yourself. You will need to marinade it over night and then set aside about 5 to 6 hrs to cook it the next day because this is a slow roasted pork. Now don’t let the time scare you off, it is well worth it when it is done.


Here is what you will need to make this. As a little extra I will tell you how to make a quick and easy side dish of black beans to go with it too.


Pork Shoulder (I used boneless) About 4 lbs give or take

Orange Juice (no pulp, about a cup)

Lime juice (1/4 cup)

Dried oregano (2 tablespoons)

Ground Black Pepper (1 tablespoon)

Ground Cumin (1 tablespoon)

Smoked Paprika (1 teaspoon)

Minced or freshly chopped garlic (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon course ground salt

2 diced Jalapenos (for the beans)

1 medium white onion thinly sliced (for a more authentic taste use red onion, I just happen to prefer white)

1/2 cup of diced onion (for the beans)

1 can black beans ( I used Bushes black beans)


Mix orange juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt and half of the garlic together in a bowl.

Take the pork shoulder (trimmed of excess fat) and place it in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in and close the bag. You may want to double bag to prevent leaking. Make sure it is mixed all around and has touched all of the pork. Place in the fridge over night.

Cooking the pork

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees

Take the marinated pork and place it in an oven safe pot with a lid that covers it entirely. You can pour in a little of the marinade with it if you like. Then discard the rest. Now add the sliced onion to the pot and put the lid on it.

Put the pork in the oven and roast it for 5 to 6 hours. About half way through you will want to turn the shoulder over in the pot and mix the onion around a little. If this is a fatty pork shoulder you will also want to drain any extra fat from the pot leaving about half an inch in the bottom. Put the lid back on and put it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.

That is it for the pork. You will know it is done when you can stick a wooden spoon or spatula in and it falls apart when you try to move it.

Now as an extra little perk here is how to make a great side to compliment this roasted pork.

Black Beans

Open 1 can of Bushes black beans and pour them in a small pot. Now add the diced onion, jalapeno and the rest of the garlic and cook on medium high heat until the onion starts to soften up. Once it is heated all the way through your beans are ready.

All that is left to do is put a nice portion of pork on a plate with a big spoonful of black beans on the side and enjoy a home cooked Cuban dinner.

Thanks for reading,


Salmon Patties

Growing up one of my favorite meals that my mother made were her homemade salmon patties. There was just something about them that I couldn’t get enough of. Maybe it was the crunchy outer texture or just the overall flavor. Over the years I have never really attempted to make them myself more than a couple of times and when I did I would try and follow her recipe exactly but they never came out the same. So when I got the craving the other day I made the decision to try and come up with my own version of this classic recipe that I so love. Here is what I came up with.


Canned Salmon (two 14oz cans)

Corn tortilla chips (Crushed into about 3/4 of a cup of little crumbs)

Jalapeno  (2 seeds removed and finely chopped)

1 medium white onion (finely ch0pped)

red pepper flakes (1 tablespoon)

garlic powder (1 tablespoon)

cajun seasoning (1 tablespoon)

black pepper (1 tablespoon)

salt (1 teaspoon)

2 eggs

olive oil (for cooking)

Mixing the ingredients

First you will want to open both cans of salmon and drain them (leaving a little extra water for mixing) and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together well.


This is where it gets a little tricky. Since this is kind of a dry mixture you will need to pat out the patties as you cook them and not before hand. So heat up about a 1/4″ of olive oil to medium high heat in a large pan. Pat out and press firmly together the patties and place them in the hot oil and cook to golden brown on either side.  One large pan should fit about 4 patties with room for turning. Be careful, if you flip too early they may break. This is a little more on the healthy side for this recipe. If you wanted to make them stick together a little more you can add about half a cup of Helmanns mayonnaise. This gives them a little better consistency to work with but also adds the calories so I will leave it up to you.

These are great on their own or served with mashed potatoes and gravy. All and all a nice little treat for any seafood lover out there.

Thanks for reading


Omelet Making 101

I know many people out there have attempted to make an omelet only to get egg stuck in a pan or burnt on one side or just have it fall apart completely but I am here to tell you that there is hope. It have taken me a while to come up with my technique for omelet making which is surprising because it was actually pretty simple once I figured it out. The most important thing to have to make a successful omelet at home is a small to medium non stick pan with a lid. There are many different types of omelets and many different ingredients to put in an omelet so I will not try and sway anyone one way or the other with what to add because we all like different things. Instead I will just walk you through the process of making an omelet using the ingredients I decided to use on this occasion. I also know that some people like to add the ingredients to the egg mixture and cook it all together. I’m sorry but this is not an omelet to me. This is just scrambled eggs with stuff in it. So I will be showing you how to do what I consider a real omelet.




1 small bell pepper

1 small white onion

1 roma tomato

2 tablespoons of minced pickled jalapenos

2 ounces goat cheese


black pepper

2 to 3 eggs (depends on how hungry you are)



Prep. Dice up all the veggies (keeping the tomatoes separate from the onion and bell pepper).

Coat a non stick pan with a non stick spray and heat to medium heat.

Cook Onions and both kinds of peppers until they start to caramelize. You want the onions to turn clear and the edges to start to turn brown. This brings out the flavor in them. Once they start to turn brown add in the tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes. You will see the tomatoes start to soften up and change color. Scoop them all in to a bowl and add the goat cheese. Stir it all together and set aside. Now rinse out the pan, spray with non stick spray and heat on medium heat with the lid on it.

In a mixing bowl beat or whisk the eggs until the yolks and the whites are blended together.

Now add the egg mixture to the heated pan and cover for about 20 seconds. Remove the lid and tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the uncooked egg starts to make a thin coat around the sides of the pan. Add a little salt and black pepper and replace the lid for another minute. Using the lid traps the heat and lets the top of the egg cook along with the bottom so there is no flipping involved. Now remove the lid and the egg should be solid on top and not move when you jiggle the pan. If the eggs still jiggle a bit put the lid back on for a few more seconds until they are ready. Now take your filling and scoop it out into a nice layer on one half of the egg. Using a spatula flip the other half of the egg over on top of the mixture closing your omelet. Replace the lid for another 10 to 15 seconds to let everything heat up.

Now you are ready to plate your omelet. Have a plate standing by and take the pan in one hand and a spatula in the other. Hold the pan over the plate as close you can and tilt it toward the plate. Use the spatula to guide the omelet to the plate and it should slide right out with no trouble. Now you are ready to eat. You can add a little salsa (or hot sauce as it is called here is SA).

You of course can use whatever filler you would like but I do urge you to give mine a try. I hope that this helps at least a few people in your future breakfast endeavors.


Thanks for Reading


Fish Tacos

If you live on either coast and like seafood then you have probably at least once tried a fish taco. They have even started popping up in some of the larger chain restaurants over the last few years and seem to be growing in popularity all over. For the most part every one is prepared the same way with only a few subtle changes made. Some may be fried fillets of fish while others are grilled and almost all have some sort of slaw and a creamy sauce on top and are served on either a corn or flour tortilla. While I enjoy these very much I also like to come up with new ideas and new ways to to look at classic food items, so I set forth and came up with my own unique take on the fish taco. Here is what you need.



Two or three large tilapia fillets

1 medium white onion (chopped into medium sized pieces)

2 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 large poblano pepper (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

1 lime

½ tablespoon course sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chilli powder

olive oil

½ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

Corn or flour tortillas


In a large non stick skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions, garlic and peppers. You will want to cook the onions, garlic and peppers until they start to caramelize. The secret is to get them just to the point of getting the dark crisp edges and then reduce the heat to medium. With a spatula move them to the edges of the pan and add two more tablespoons of olive oil. Now place the tilapia fillets in the pan and let them seer on one side for several minutes. Salt and pepper the filets as they cook. When the fillets have turned white a little over half way through turn them over and repeat on the other side. Salt and pepper the other side. If a filet starts to fall apart do not worry as you will be breaking them up in a few minutes anyway. Once you have seared both sides use your spatula and start breaking up the filets into smaller pieces and mix with the peppers and onions. Now add the cilantro and chili powder and mix throughout the pan. Once everything has started taking on the color of the chili powder remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Give the mixture one final stir to get the lime flavor spread around.


If you are using flour tortillas you will want to take a hand full and heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving. If you are using corn tortillas you can heat another skillet and heat the corn tortillas in a single layer (both sides until they start to loosen up).


Now you are ready to assemble. Just take a big scoop of your taco mixture and place it in the center of the tortilla and fold it over. You can add some fat free cheddar or some pico or salsa if you like but to be honest it doesn’t need it. Every now and then I will add a few dashes of hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio to spice it up but these tacos really stand on their own.


As always,

Thanks for reading


Southwestern Meatloaf

OK. Let’s talk meatloaf for a minute. Everyone has their own version and idea of how it should taste or what it should look like and while most restaurants have it I have never found one that was great. Some are to sweet and some are to dry, some use brown gravy while others use tomato sauce. Do you add bacon on top or go without? What peppers do you use and should you add bread crumbs or actual diced up bread. I could go on and on with all of these as I have heard it discussed by many people. While I have my own recipe for meatloaf that I love I had an idea the other day to spice it up a bit and came up with a southwestern meatloaf recipe that knocked my socks off and wanted to share it with you.

Lets get started.


Sauce (make before hand)
16 oz medium salsa
1 bottle Kraft BBQ sauce

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb to 1 lb Mexican chorizo (depending on your taste)
1 medium red onion (finely chopped)

2 green onions (finely chopped, green part and all)
4 large jalapenos (seeded and finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
Cilantro 1/4 cup (finely chopped)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

First you will make the sauce. Mix both the BBQ sauce and salsa together in a bowl let sit in the fridge for an hour before mixing meatloaf. This will give the flavors a little bit of time to blend.

Now add all of the meatloaf mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 of the sauce mixture in with it. Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended. You want to make sure that everything is mixed well together.

Put the meatloaf mixture in a baking dish such as a casserole dish making sure it will be large enough to hold the rest of the sauce without it spilling over. Shape the meatloaf into a nice even loaf and then use your fingers to separate it from the edges of the baking dish so that there is about a half and inch between the meatloaf and the edge of the dish. Now pour in the sauce making sure to cover the entire thing evenly and so that it fills in around the sides.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the meatloaf for an hour and a half to two hours (depending on the size of your oven. I usually bump it up to 400 degrees for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking but I like it to start to get a little crisp around the edges.

Once it is done you will let it cool a little and then slice it and serve with your favorite sides.

This is one of those recipes that turned out to be a keeper. Once it started cooking I could smell it throughout the house and new it would be good. Depending on where you located you may have a harder time finding the chorizo but since it is becoming more a more a part of recipes these days you shouldn’t have to search to far to get it for this recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,