Chunky Refried Beans for Burritos, Tacos, or a Side


1/2 Serrano chili minced

1 garlic clove minced

1 T olive oil

1 can refried beans

1 can black beans washed and drained

6 T salsa verde chunky style, medium or high heat

3/4 cup Mexican cheese

6 T sour cream

1 t Mexican Seasoning- Morton and Bassett®

1/2 t garlic salt

Cayenne pepper


Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and chili and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add black beans, refried beans, salsa verde and combine. Add sour cream, Mexican seasoning, garlic salt stirring occasionally until it begins to bubble. Lower heat to medium low and add cheese. Stir until combined. Turn on low for 10-15 minutes for flavors to meld stirring occasionally. Taste. If more heat or salt is desired add a pinch of cayenne and salt.

Serve with burritos or tacos.

We make left over cooked pork loin burritos with these beans which is a favorite. The pork loin is sliced very thin and warmed up in a salsa verde chunky with medium or high heat for 5-7 minutes. The pork picks up the tang of the salsa.

Note: These beans are great the next day as a side.






Kristina’s Kringle



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter

1-2 T water


1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1 t almond extract


4 ounces cream cheese room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2-4 T milk

1 t almond extract

1/2 cup sliced almonds sliced


OVEN 350º Parchment covered quarter cookie sheet or standard cookie sheet with parchment paper.


In medium bowl cut butter into flour using pastry cutter or forks. Add water by the tablespoon until dough comes together. Pat dough out in quarter cookie sheet or 8 by 16 inch rectangle using standard cookie sheet.


Add 1 cup water and 1/2 cup butter in sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 cup flour over low heat until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat and add in eggs one at a time mixing  vigorously. Add in almond extract and combine. Spread on bar mixture. Bake for 50 – 60  minutes until golden brown. Cool and frost with glaze.


In small bowl add cream cheese, powder sugar, almond extract, and 2 T milk. Beat until smooth with electric mixer. If too thick add additional milk. Drizzle on bars and sprinkle with almond slices. Cut and serve

Note: My Mom’s take to work treat. The nurses all liked it and asked her for seconds. My Grandmother gave this recipe to her. My Grandmother made this recipe for as long as I can remember. I have no idea where she got this recipe. I do not know who Kristina was?




Old Fashioned Sally Ann Cookies



4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 t cloves

1/2 t allspice

1/2 t nutmeg

2 t ginger

2 t cinnamon

1 t baking soda

1 cup Crisco®/butter*

1/2 buttermilk

3/4 sorghum or molasses

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

Original Recipe Frosting

1 envelope plain gelatin

3/4 cup water

3/4 sugar

3/4 powdered sugar

3/4 t baking powder

1 t vanilla


Oven 325º  Parchment covered cookie sheets. Rectangular cookie cutter. My Mom used a Spam® can that she kept with supply of cookie cutters.

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add dry ingredients and combine. Refrigerate for about an hour. Divide dough in thirds and refrigerate dough not being rolled. Roll on lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with Spam type cookie cutter. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don’t over bake. Cool  and frost.


Soak gelatin in saucepan for one minute.Add sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour gelatin mixture into medium bowl. Add in powdered sugar and whisk until foamy. Add in baking powder and vanilla and beat until thick about 7 minutes.Needs to be thin enough to be spread across the cookies using spatula. Let frosting dry before storing. These cookie freeze very well.

*Crisco has higher melting point and lets the eggs and flour set so the cookies will be higher and not spread out. These cookies look nicer when using Crisco. Butter has lower melting point and flour and eggs don’t set and the cookies spread out during baking. My Grandmother always used lard for baking cookies. They kept their shape and were delicious.










My Grandmother’s Summer Salad(Pasta)


3 cups pasta rinsed and drained*

1 cup celery diced

1/2 cup radishes large dice plus 3 for decorating

1/4 cup green onions

1/4 cup carrots diced

1/4 cup new peas

1 t parsley chopped

2 eggs hard boiled diced plus one for decorating

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 t Dijon or yellow mustard

Salt and pepper



*My Grandmother liked to use bows(Farafalle) or spirals(Fusilli) instead of elbow macaroni.

In small bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard and set aside. In serving bowl add pasta and vegetables and toss. Add the dressing and combine.  Season liberally with salt and pepper. She then dressed her finished salads with rose radishes and egg slices arranged on top and sprinkled paprika on the eggs. I use egg slices and radish slices with chopped parsley or cilantro in place of paprika for dressing up finished salad. Refrigerate a couple hours for ingredients to blend. 6 servings

Note: My Grandmother had three vegetable gardens every summer. She raised food for summer feasting with family and friends but also put away food for the winter months.



Mexican Black Beans


2 cans black beans rinsed and drained

3 T olive oil

2 shallot chopped fine

3 garlic clove minced

1 Serrano chili minced

2 cup chicken broth

3/4 t cumin

Salt and pepper

1-2 T lime juice


Place medium sauce pan on medium low heat with 2 T olive oil. Add shallot, garlic, and chili and cook until fragrant about 2-3 minutes. Add drained beans, chicken broth, lime juice, pinch of salt, and pepper. Combine ingredients and adjust taste. Cook for 20 minutes.Stirring occasionally. Remove and serve. Serves 4-5

Note: Very versatile. Can be used as  side, used in burritos, a soup,salads, or mashed and used as refried beans. We like them!

Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Slaw



1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

1 stick butter

1/4 c Mexican seasoning Morton and Bassett®


1 quart water

1/4 cup salt

2 T brown sugar

2 t soy sauce


2 cups purple cabbage shredded

1/2 cup carrots shredded

1/2 cup cilantro

2 T Serrano pepper minced

Salt and pepper


1/3 cup olive oil or grape seed oil

3 T lime juice

1 garlic clove minced

2 T shallot minced

1/2 t cumin

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1/2  salt

1  t sugar

2 T mayonnaise


Mexican crema Walmart supplies it or 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup heavy cream combined.


8 corn or flour tortillas  warmed in tortilla warmer or wrapped in foil

2 limes quartered in small serving dish.

1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco

Avocado sliced or chopped optional


Oven 170º

Combine the dressing ingredients in a salad dressing shaker. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let it rest while preparing the shrimp.Brine the shrimp for 20-40 minutes. In a small bowl add the sour cream and heavy cream, mix and set aside. Add the slaw ingredients together in medium bowl add salad dressing and toss. Adjust seasoning. Place tortilla warmer with tortillas in oven.

Remove shrimp from brine and dry. Place Mexican seasoning in plastic bag. Add shrimp and toss to coat.Place large skillet on medium high heat with 4 T of butter and heat until frothy.   Add half the shrimp cook about 2-3 minute turn and cook about 2 minutes until done. Remove to serving dish. Repeat step with remaining shrimp.

Tacos are ready to be assembled with taco layered with slaw, shrimp, and dressed with crema. Serve with lime, avocado,  and queso fresco crumbles on the side. The side  served was Mexican black beans. Delicious  Serves 4

Alternatively you can setup a taco bar  with tacos, slaw, shrimp, crema, limes, queso fresco,Mexican rice, black beans, salsa, guacamole, chips, and

*Use jumbo(21-25) or large shrimp(26-35)

Note: I need to start taking pictures this always looks tasty.


Brown Sugar Bars with Meringue Salted Peanut Topping

A tasty blonde bar topped with a brown sugar meringue.



2 cups flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 cup butter softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 egg yolks

1 T milk

1 t vanilla


3 egg whites room temperature

1/2 cup baking sugar(super fine)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup dry roasted salted peanuts


Oven 325º  13″ by 9″ pan buttered Stand mixer or hand mixer with whisk attachment.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl and set aside.Cream butter and sugars and blend in the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and combine. Spread evenly in  buttered baking pan.

Pour egg whites into stainless steel or glass bowl and beat slowly for a minute. Then increase speed to high until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar while beating in fourths. Then sprinkle the brown sugar like snow over the meringue mixture until stiff and glossy peaks form. Gently fold in peanuts and spread over the bar mixture with a spatula. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Note: We serve these all the time at parties. If peanuts are a known problem the meringue can be made without the peanuts. I am considering toffee chips as a peanut replacement. Have not done it yet.


Curly Kale Salad with Lemon Garlic Parmesan Dressing*


1 bunch  of curly kale

1/2 cup olive oil

5 garlic cloves minced

1/3 cup Parmesan Reggiano grated plus 1/4 cup  set aside

1/3 cup lemon juice

Salt and pepper


Remove kale ribs, wash and spin and tear into bite size pieces or if in a hurry rough chop.

Pour into salad dressing shaker, olive oil and lemon juice. Add minced garlic and cheese and shake. Add pinch of salt and ground black pepper


Toss kale with about 1/2 of the dressing. Sprinkle with set aside cheese and serve. Serve 2-4


Note: I have used Lacinato Kale and Red Russian Kale also but prefer curly kale for this recipe as its ruffled leaves capture and hold the cheese and garlic.


*Use the best olive oil available for salad dressings. An extra virgin olive oil that is fruity and peppery is my favorite for salad dressings and dipping..

*I buy a Parmesan-Reggiano that is cut from a wheel. I bought pre-packaged Parmesan that was expensive and was disappointed. It made a big difference in the flavor balance of the salad dressing and the taste of the finished dressed salad.




Easy Pan Fried Fresh Sweet Corn


4 large ears of fresh corn on the cob*

2 T butter

Salt and pepper


Remove husks and silk from corn. Remove corn kernels by knife from cob. Melt butter in skillet over medium low heat. Add corn and toss to coat the kernels. Stir occasionally. Corn is al dente in 1 1/2 to 2 minutes¹. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Yields 4 servings


1Fresh harvested sweet corn is sweeter and less starchy tasting. It still has its husk on and is not dried out. It pan fries very fast. The corn on the cob we’ve bought husked and plastic wrapped in a four or six pack seems to be much starchier in taste and does not pan fry fast.  It can take 4-5 minutes for this corn to lose the starchy flavor. Sugar is sometimes is needed if a sweet flavor is desired.

We always had fried sweet corn in the summer when visiting my Grandmother on her farm. As Grandchildren our job was to husk the corn. She then would turn it into our favorite side dish along with her fried catfish. The corn this summer seems sweeter and more tender than her fresh off the field sweet corn.

Shrimp Quesadillas with Corn Salsa



1/2 cup fresh sweet corn

1/2 Serrano  chili chopped fine

2 T shallot

1/2 lime juiced

1 T olive oil

Pinch of salt


1/3 pound medium shrimp

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/2 Serrano chili fine chop

3 T cilantro chopped

1/8 t cumin

1 lime juiced

2 cups Queso Fresco or Mexican blend cheese shredded

Pinch of salt

2 large taco shells



Add ear of sweet corn to boiling waster and blanch for one minute. Remove and dip in cold water. Cut corn from cob and place in small bowl. Add chili, cilantro, and shallot and combine, Add lime juice and olive oil and mix. Add salt mix and refrigerate for couple hours for flavors to meld. Serve with shrimp  quesadillas.


Peel and devein shrimp then poach for 1 minute. Remove and place in iced cold water and remove to small bowl. If using fresh sweet corn, blanch it for 1 minute and dip it into cold water. Cut corn from cob and place it in shrimp bowl. Add cilantro, chili, salt, and cumin in bowl with 1 lime juiced. Let the flavors blend for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid from the shrimp mixture.

Place large skillet on medium high heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil and spread it around with spatula. Place taco shell in pan and heat until bubbles form, turn shell and heat until bubble appear.  Add 1/2 shrimp mixture and 1/2 cheese and cook until cheese melts. Fold taco shell over mixture like an omelet. Remove from pan and cover. Cook second taco and the plate and serve the quesadillas with corn salsa.

Note: When using Queso Fresco I cover the taco with shrimp and cheese mixture with a lid because the cheese melts slower than for example a Monterey Jack Cheddar combination.