Thursday, March 31, 2011

cheesy jalapeño breakfast casserole

I stumbled upon this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, the Homesick Texan, and decided to give it a whirl when my mom and sister were visiting last week. I tweaked it some, and can absolutely see it becoming a breakfast-time staple in our house. Everyone loved it!

My only complaint is that I actually wish I'd doubled the recipe -- I could've eaten on it for days and days.

It's a perfect (fast & easy) dish for entertaining out-of-town guests, and would be an absolutely super addition to any brunch.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 Roma/plum tomato, seeded and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, diced
  • sour cream, tomatoes, avocado (topped with lime juice), and fresh cilantro, for serving


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using non-stick cooking spray, lightly grease an 8x8 casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in flour, dry mustard, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the cottage cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, butter, jalapeños, tomatoes, and cilantro; mix.
  • Pour the eggs into the casserole dish, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the center is firm.
  • Serve warm topped with a dollop of sour cream, chopped tomatoes, cubed avocado with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Yields 4-6 servings

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

creamy lobster and shrimp enchiladas

Let me just start out by saying upfront that this is one of the yummiest enchilada recipes I've ever eaten. And believe me -- this Texas girl has had a lot of enchiladas!

The lobster is pricey, but very much worth the extra sacrifice, although crab meat would make an easy substitution (but go for the lobster!). It's a meal that's outstanding for a casual lunch with friends, or dressed up for dinner with company. And the recipe is so simple, you'll want to make again and again ... I promise. Delicious!


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde (I prefer the added kick of jalapeño to tomatillo for this recipe)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds small shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined; cut vertically, so as to retain shrimp shape, but in bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup cooked lobster meat, cubed into bite-size pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 12 flour tortillas (7 inches)
  • extra sour cream, cilantro and lime, for garnish (optional)
  • In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in broth and soup until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in sour cream, salsa, cayenne pepper and salt; set aside.
  • Place ricotta cheese in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Add lime juice and transfer to a bowl; add the [vertically-cut] shrimp, lobster, 1 1/2 cups of the Monterrey Jack cheese, chilies and cilantro; mix with large spoon.
  • Spread 3/4 cup sauce in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Place about 1/3 cup seafood mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down over sauce. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
  • Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Perfect with cilantro rice.
  • Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

local color

Quietly tucked away on a back road in Exeter, NH is a nursery that I've been dying to stop at ever since we moved here. It's a place where I could spend hours, and totally lose track of time.

Last summer, it was full of geraniums, hydrangeas, and stars and stripes bunting. In the fall, it overflowed with pumpkins, scarecrows, and Indian corn. At Christmas time, it gloriously displayed fresh wreaths, bright poinsettias and twinkly lights. And now that it's spring time, I was simply unable to resist it's charms anymore.

Churchill's Gardens
is currently bursting with color. And on a sunny day, it's completely intoxicating.

Monday, March 28, 2011

{ candy land }

You know those Lindor chocolate truffles by Lindt that sit in bins at the desk at Barnes & Noble and such? The tiny little chocolate globes wrapped in colored foil and filled with soft, whipped chocolate?

Well, as luck (?) would have it, there's a Lindt outlet store about 7 miles from my house. I'm still not sure whether it's a curse or a blessing, but there it sits, on a little corner in Exeter, New Hampshire.

One of their number one customers, despite the fact that she lives in a different time zone, is my sweet mother. And on her most recent visit, when she requested that we "stop in" to the Lindt shop, I was rightfully concerned.

The woman bought out the store.

In all fairness to any red-blooded, living, breathing homosapien (my mother, in particular), it's mighty hard to resist -- the store is a chocolate-lover's dream. Aisle upon aisle and bin upon bin of those pretty little foil treats, priced obscenely low, are begging to be purchased and enjoyed; however, leaving with so many that one is unable to take even 1/4 of them home on the plane is a bit excessive, even for my Costco-junkie, bulk-minded mother.

But she did.

And my house is now full of chocolate.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

portsmouth park

The only adjective that comes to mind when describing our outing in Portsmouth yesterday is cold. I could actually throw in fun, sunny, beautiful, and bright, but in the end, cold overshadows all.

There's a great little dog park at South Mill Pond in Portsmouth, NH where we're able to take Daisy and Pepper for a taste of freedom and some mingling time with other canines. And right next to the dog park is a little playground that Aidan adores. Yesterday, while Aunt Beverly is here visiting from College Station, TX, he specifically requested a trip to his favorite park, so off we went.

I'm glad I bundled him up. But, truth be told, the wind still found a way to seep into our bones. My mom, who is currently visiting from Houston, chickened out on us and stayed in the car with Baby Paige. Have I mentioned that it was cold?

Spring time in New Hampshire is a whole other beast, as compared to spring time in Texas.

Another day. Another adventure.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

lobster benedict

One of the great things about living in New England is the abundance of lobster available to enjoy -- I never get tired of it, and could eat lobster pretty much any way. Oooh! That actually sounds like a delicious plan! I might have to explore the idea ....

Anyway, I had some leftover lobster meat from dinner the other night, and obviously didn't want to let it go to waste. So I whipped up some eggs Benedict, with the traditional English muffin, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce. But instead of Canadian bacon, I opted for lobster. The result was a perfect breakfast.

I'm betting shrimp would be good too -- a fabulous brunch item, I'd say.

I love those red crustaceans with the big claws.

Monday, March 21, 2011

gray day, bright cookies

Spring teased us for a few days with blue skies and sunshine; today however, the clouds moved back in with a vengeance, complete with snow, cold, and a none-too-subtle reminder that winter is still ultimately in charge this far north.

So I decided to give the rotten weather the proverbial middle finger and bake the brightest cookies possible.

Aunt Beverly and Grandma (my sister [the good doctor] and my mom) are coming for a quick visit on Wednesday, and I wanted to make something sweet for those late night munchies or early morning nibbles. Aidan suggested fire truck cookies, but I was able to convince him that spring flowers were the way to go.

They're colorful. They're yummy. And they absolutely scream spring.

Take that, crappy weather.