this is our favorite homemade hummus dip! it’s great with chips, pita wedges, vegetables, and whole wheat tortillas. we also make hummus wraps and sandwhiches using this. we make this almost every week…

jar of roasted red peppers (drained)
2 cans of organic garbanzo beans (washed and drained)
1/2 cup of Tahini
olive oil
2 tbs of water
1/2 tbs of chili powder
1 lemon
pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 gloves of garlic (pressed)
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbs of pine nuts
fresh chopped parsley

add 2 cans of washed and rinsed garbanzo beans to a blender. then, add 2 tbs of water. add roasted red peppers (you don’t have to chop them). add tahini, 4 tbs of olive oil, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes. then, squeeze the entire lemon over the top of mixture. puree until very smooth. you will have to periodically stop blending to stir the mixture with a spoon. final mixture should be very smooth, without clumps.

transfer to a large serving bowl or container. drizzle top of hummus with olive oil. then sprinkle pine nuts, paprika, and fresh parsley over hummus.

refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


threw this together tonight and it was stellar.  we love couscous around here.  the kids didn’t even talk as they shoveled this meal into their faces.  pretty dang tasty and full of veggies.

1 zucchini cut lengthwise, then cut into 1 inch slices
1 green (or red) bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz whole button mushrooms
1 cup of vegetable primavera pasta sauce
1 cup of dry couscous cooked as directed
3 cloves garlic
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
salt, pepper
a few pinches of italian seasoning
1 tbs pesto sauce

heat large skillet with 1 tbs of olive oil on med high heat.  add onion, bell pepper, and zuchinni and cook until almost tender (about 4 minutes).  add mushrooms and continue to cook as they let off their juices and turn slightly brown.  peel garlic cloves, mash with a large spoon, then cut into slivers.  add garlic, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning and continue to stir the mixture as the vegetables cook.  don’t cook the vegetables too long, as you want them to be a little crunchy and not over-cooked.

lower the temperature to medium-low.  add the pasta sauce and stir.  add the pesto sauce and stir.  cover and let simmer for a few minutes, meanwhile prepare the couscous as directed.

stir in the handfuls of spinach and stir until wilted.

serve immediately over hot couscous. garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley.

we have recently started eating alot more lentils. i love these little beans. the kids love this stew also.

1 bag of dried lentils
2 cans of Rotell
2 cans of vegetable broth
1 can of mexican corn
lg. onion, cut into eighths
2 cans of black beans (drained)
a few fresh basil leaves chopped
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic

In crock pot stir together all ingredients and cook on
low for 10 to 12 hours (4 to 6 hours on high) vegetables should be tender.

i LOVE shepherd’s pie. i had the real deal in Ireland when i visited last year. any food in an Irish pub is fantastic, but this is definitely the cream of the crop. grab a good dark ale and enjoy with this…

unsalted butter
1.5 pounds ground turkey breast
1 small chopped yellow onions
2 carrots, chopped
ground black pepper
half carton of sliced button mushrooms
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs chili powder
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
4-5 idaho potatoes
1 cup milk
grated white cheddar

in an all-metal skillet (so that you can put it in the oven later), cook the turkey meat until almost done (slightly pink).

add the onions, carrots, salt, and good bit of ground black pepper, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. add the mushrooms and cook while stirring until mushrooms reduce in size and soften. add the tomato paste and stir and cook a few minutes longer. slowly add the flour while stirring. slowly add the stock and Worcestershire sauce along with chili powder and garlic powder then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and return to the pot. mash the potatoes until very smooth, then add butter, salt, pepper, and continue mashing. add the milk and mix well.

in the skillet, top the meat mixture with the mashed potatoes, while smoothing the top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes until cheese turns slightly brown.


so our friends Jesse and Tamara gave us some fresh tomatoes from their garden a few days ago. i had some frozen tortellini in my freezer, and my kids LOVE pasta. so i thought, i’d combine these powers and make up something tasty. i’ve combined homemade marinara sauce, frozen tortellini from the store, fresh spinach, mushrooms, and red wine. holy crap….so good.

1 package of frozen tortellini (found in freezer section of any grocery store)
4-5 med sized tomatoes chopped into large chunks (with seeds and juicy cores)
small onion
fresh spinach (1/2 a bag)
1/2 cup red wine
crushed red pepper
rosemary (fresh or dry)
3 chopped garlic cloves or 1 tbs of garlic powder
olive oil
salt / pepper  / sugar

heat 2 tbs of olive oil + 1 tbs of unsalted butter in a large skillet on med-high heat. add chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper, mushrooms. cook for 4-5 minutes until onion is soft.

add tomatoes, salt, pepper, red wine and cook for 10 minutes. keep stirring due to the high heat.

use a potatoe smasher to smash the tomatoes in the pan (be careful because it’s really hot).

add rosemary, sugar,  and crushed red pepper and simmer for about 10 more minutes. then, place on low heat with lid on and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the stuff.

cook the tortellini according to the package. be careful to not overcook the pasta, becuase it will finish cooking when you add it to the sauce later on. only boil for about 5 minutes (see package directions).

when pasta is almost done (al dente), add pasta to the sauce. then gently stir in the fresh spinach and simmer for about 5 more minutes (until spinach is wilted).

serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese. SO good.

this is my take on Creamy Jalepeno dip from Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant in Texas. it is the best dip on the planet. some good, thin tortilla chips + this stuff… it will make you take your clothes off and dance on the couch naked. it’s unbelievable. you will want to bathe in this stuff…or stick a straw in the bowl and drink it. either way, you will love it.

ingredients: 16 oz sour cream tub, 2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix, 1/2 cup of pickled jalepenos, 1 tbs of jalepeno juice from the jar, 2 handfuls of cilantro.

add all ingredients in blender and blend until kinda smooth. you still want some texture, so dont like liquify the thing.

now, pour the contents on the dining room table, then sit on the dining room table and scoop handfulls of dip onto your body. like a jalepeno ranch dip bath.

ok, i’m really passionate about this dip, i know…i should stop. speaking of stopping… you need to stop reading and go make some… peace.

i had some friends over recently and i decided to make some homemade enchiladas.  i really love having friends over.  creating a meal and sharing it with people in my home is one of the ways i express love and friendship.  inviting people into your home is such a great form of community… do it!

so, onto the food.  Texas has better enchiladas than Mexico in my opinion, so they have a little Texas flair (of course).

Ingredients:  olive oil, 1 large white or yellow onion , 3 tbs flour, 29 ounce can tom sauce, 2 tbs chili powder, 2.5 tbs cumin, salt, cayenne pepper, 1 lb white cheddar cheese, 1 can black beans, 1 small can chopped green chilis, whole wheat tortillas, fresh cilantro (chopped)

1.  preheat oven 400.  in large bowl mix black beans, 2/3 cheese, green chilis, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste

2.  heat oil.  add 1/2 onion and cook until translucent (maybe 5 min).  stir in flour slowly and cook 2 min.  add 1.5 cups water, tom sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt, pinch of cayenne pepper.  bring to boil.  simmer 5 min.

3.  spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of a baking dish.  dip tortillas in remaining sauce mixture then fill with stuffing.  don’t overfill these badboys… maybe 2 tbs of stuffing in each one.  roll them and place them in the baking dish side by side really close to each other

4.  top the pan with remaining sauce, cheese, and onion.

5.  bake for about 30 minutes.  (until cheese is bubbling on the sides of the enchiladas)

6.  turn the oven to broil.  broil for 5 minutes until the cheese on top browns a little.. soooo good.

oh my gosh, i’m hungry all over again…

it’s good to make some fresh pico to place on the top of the enchiladas when you serve them…

so i made baby back ribs tonight. i’m from texas, so you gotta have some good ribs every once in a while. since i live in TN, i dont get Texas ribs often…the only place near here is about 25 minutes away at Mickey Roo’s in Franklin. (amazing, by the way). my favorite ribs are cooked “dry” (with a good dry rub), then basted with good b-b-que sauce the last few minutes. this is really easy, and holy crap it’s so good.

get a rack of baby back ribs (whatever size suits your meal). you’ll need a good dry rub. i really dont think it matter what kind you get, but something good for ribs. you can pick this up at any grocery store. sprinkle the rub all over both sides, then sort of pat it so that the rub sticks. wrap in aluminum foil and keep in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

preheat oven to 250 degrees.

take the ribs out of the foil and wrap them into a new foil. make a pouch so that the ribs fit nicely with enough room for excess liquids. close the foil pouch, but do not wrap it tight around the meat. you may want to put a pan on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any drippage.
cook for 1 hour.

pour a cup of basting liquid into the pouch. to make your basting liquid mix 1/3 cup of water, 2 tbs of wichestor sauce, and 1 tsp of garlic powder. re-close the pouch and cook for another hour.

pour another cup of basting liquid in the pouch. cook another hour.

pour another cup of basting liquid in the pouch. cook 30 minutes.

remove the ribs/pouch from the oven. turn the broiler on. open the pouch completely, exposing the ribs. grab your favorite Bar-B-Que sauce (mine is Jack Daniels Honey Smoked) and generously spread over top of ribs. put the ribs back into the oven and broil for 10 minutes (watch your ribs, don’t let them burn!). this will carmelize the bar-b-que sauce creating a sort of crust…soooo goooood.

remove your ribs and serve with a side of warmed up bar-b-que sauce. i also served these ribs with baked potatoes and some green beans…and a chilled Dos Perros.

now everyone, remove your hat in honor of Texas…and consume your ribs.

1.5 Liter bottle of Red Table Wine (macaroni grill Chianti is good choice)
10 oz Grenadine
16 oz cranberry juice cocktail
14 oz sweet vermouth
8 Strawberries sliced
1 orange sliced into 1 inch slices (with peel)
2 limes sliced (with peel)

add all ingredients into a 1 gallon pitcher and set in fridge for at least 3 hours. serve over ice with fresh lime wedges.


ok, men CAN cook. alot of times husbands and single guys assume that only woman can cook. it's not true! you don't have to be a master chef to make great meals. so, here's my world of cooking for my family. my wife doesn't cook at all...i cook every meal for the family and i love doing it. things you need: #1 oven/grill #2 a manly apron (nothing with flowers on it) #3 a few pans and cooking utensils #4 confidence in the fact that the meal you're making is going to kick some serious tail

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