• Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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I love regular white rice, but sometimes it gets boring.  This rice dish is not only delicious, but it also pairs well with many other dishes.  I love the crunchy texture of the fried garlic and I am sure you will too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 ¾ cup cold water
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • Fried garlic *
  • Chopped chives (optional garnish)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the rice with warm water, drain and place rice in a saucepot.
  2. Heat a skillet to med-high heat.  Add the onions, cook for 1 minute.  Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Place the onion and garlic mixture in the saucepot with the rice.  Add 1 ¾ cup cold water, chicken bouillon, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.  Fluff with fork, garnish with fried garlic and chopped chives, then serve.

Notes:

*I love fried garlic and found a jar of it at the local Asian market.  If you can’t find it. It’s easy to make, just be careful not to burn.  Peel and chop up garlic cloves.  Fry in olive oil stirring often.  Pull when the garlic is browned.  You can also leave it out, but I love the texture this brings to the dish.

Fried Garlic found at the local Asian market

I love Halloween, do you?  Every year someone in my family host a big Halloween party filled with spooky food, costume contests, games, and spirits.  My son and his wife are the ones who generally host this gathering.  They usually go with a theme like wrestling, 80’s era, popular TV characters, you get the gist.  It’s always tons of fun and we look forward to it every year.

I don’t think I have been to a party where there wasn’t food, and our Halloween parties are full of spooky dishes.  Check out these spooky party tables.

Spooky dinner served on pumpkin carving night.

Halloween is more that just food. To us it means a trip to the pumpkin patch. I might love it more that the kids do. Oops, did I just say that out loud? In the boise area we had two amazing pumpkin patches, Linder Farm, which unfortunately closed this year and The Farmstead. I used to go to both every year, but now I am limited LOL. At the Farmstead youu can find several food vendors, hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkins of various colors and much more. Here’s a link to check them out yourself. https://www.lowefamilyfarmstead.com/idahos-original-corn-maze

My family and I – children of the corn!
My daughter and my grandsons
Yup that’s me.. with my granddaughter Shania, daughter Gabrielle and grandson Zaydon.
My granddaughter, Autumn.
Some of the family.
My granddaughters, Raylee and Daisy.

I could go on and on about the pumpkin patch, but it’s time to move on to the actual pumpkin carving! Often we plan a family night together to carve pumpkins and have dinner. Some of us are talented in this area, but I just do the best I can. I am a cook, not a pumpkin carver!

Michael is the master pumpkin carver!
Everyone gets involved.
That’s my daughter Amber. She loves the pumpkin guts!
Family pumpkin gallery

After the pumpkin carving, we gear up for the costume party, which is always fun! I am amazed by some of the costumes over the years. Like I mentioned before, often the parties are themed. Here are a few pictures from the past.

Okay, don’t laugh. This picture was taken sometime between 1972 and 1975. At school we made our own costumes and had a costume parade.
Here are some pictures from our party in 2015. I went as butter.
My son as Beetle Juice and his friend
My husband, me and my son.
Isn’t this awesome? My son Michael and my daughter-in-law Kylee
Very creative indeed. This was the WWE theme.
Guess what theme this was.
My granddaughters Daisy and Autumn
My grandson Max
Great job Kylee
Aren’t these costumes amazing?

As you can see, we clearly have a great time during Halloween! Post your comments on how you celebrate this holiday. I look forward to seeing how others celebrate!

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This dish can be served for breakfast, or if you are not a breakfast eater, brunch, or lunch. The chorizo potatoes are very filling, and the soft yolks create a creamy sauce for the whole dish.  This will certainly become a family favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 – 10 oz. pkg.  pork chorizo *
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet to med-high.  Once heated add the potatoes, chorizo, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Break the chorizo down it will turn almost to mush. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft, and the outside is browned, about 25 to 30 min.
  2. When the potatoes are almost done cooking heat your tortillas.  I have a gas stove so I put mine on direct heat, but you can do it in a warm skillet as well.  Once all tortillas are cooked, set aside and keep warm.
  3. Check your potatoes for doneness and seasoning.  Add additional salt and pepper as needed. Once cooked, set aside, and keep warm.
  4. Next cook your eggs.  I like mine sunny side up, but over easy is fine too.
  5. Place 2 tortillas onto a plate, top with potatoes, 2 eggs then cheese. Serve immediately!

Notes:

*Make sure you buy chorizo and not chorizo sausage it makes a huge difference. Regular chorizo is very soft and flavors the potatoes perfectly.

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is one of my favorite breakfasts. The soft egg with that warm sauce and tortillas, oh man. Please read the notes at the bottom it will be helpful.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, left whole
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced (this will be added later.) *
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ onion – Divided. (Dice 1/4 of the onion, and leave the other 1/4 whole) *
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1 – 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped (optional – garnish)
  • ½ cup Queso Fresco Cheese, or shredded cheddar cheese, (optional)
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Boil the water. When water begins to boil add your 3 whole Roma tomatoes (save the diced tomatoes for final sauce step,) and chili peppers. Cook until chili peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the cooked tomatoes, chilis, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chicken bouillon and water in the blender and blend until smooth, being careful the hot ingredients tend to splatter. Return the blended ingredients to the saucepan and add the diced tomato and onion. Taste your sauce and add salt and pepper as needed. Allow sauce to simmer 10 minutes.

While your sauce is simmering get those corn tortillas ready. Now here you have options…

  • Not so healthy, but delicious… heat 2 Tbsp. canola oil to frying pan… add 1 tortilla at a time and cook until you see bubbles form in tortilla. Remove from heat and place on paper towels to remove excess oil, set aside and keep warm. Or
  • Place 2 tortillas in between 2 wet paper towels (this will steam them.)  Place in a microwave for about 30 seconds or until tortillas are soft, set aside and keep warm.
  • Next fry up those eggs. I usually do one egg per tortilla, but you make yourself happy.
  •  Place 2 warm tortillas on a plate, then add your eggs, cheese, and cilantro. Serve

Notes:

*I like my sauce chunky, so I divide my onion. I keep half of it whole to be blended and dice the other half to add to the sauce that has already been blended. I add three tomatoes that are diced to the sauce later as well. This gives extra texture to your final sauce.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is an easy, delicious, filling meal that doesn’t break the bank.  It’s beautiful too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 6 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, divided (mince half and slice the other half)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 tsp. beef bouillon
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. oil, divided
  • 4 eggs
  • Green onions, chopped for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add the beef, garlic powder, minced onions, salt, and pepper to a bowl, and mix to combine.  Separate the beef into 4 equal sections, and form hamburger patties.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to a skillet and heat to medium-high.  Add the beef patties, and cook until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to plate and keep warm.
  3. Wipe out the skillet and then heat it to med-high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil and when the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and mushrooms.  Sauté 3 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and onions are translucent.  Remove to plate and keep warm.
  4. Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water, set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepot, add the butter and 1 tsp. oil.  Once butter is melted add the flour and onion powder, cook 1 minute.
  6. Fry the eggs to your liking, I like mine sunny side up or over easy.
  7. Add about ¾ cup rice to a plate, top the rice with some of the onions and mushrooms, then gravy, next hamburger patty, and last the fried egg.  Repeat 3 more times.

We recently took a road trip to Oklahoma City, Ok and found The Collective.   This place is extraordinary and a pleasant surprise.  When you first walk in you see several mini restaurants lined up and plenty of seating.   This is not just a building filled with mini restaurants, they have a 40-foot full bar with 32 rotational taps and a coffee shop, and often have live music.  A true food mall, with a twist.

We ran into the manager, Deprecia. She is an amazing host and very knowledgeable. She showed us around and filled us in on the inspiration for The Collective.

They opened in 2019 and were hit hard when covid happened.   With the rooftop patio that seats almost 100 people, they were able to welcome patrons back to the business.  When you visit don’t forget to take your pooch, the patio is dog friendly.

Thank you Deprecia!

Most of the mini restaurants are a step up from a food truck and gives the owners the ability to learn what it takes to run a full restaurant.  They gain many skills like managing their product, what sells, what doesn’t, and cost of supplies.  With this knowledge many of these small kitchens move on to open full restaurants.   

Look at all the food options here!
Drinks anyone? 40-foot full bar with 32 rotational taps
Always a friendly face!

Did I mention they also allow local artists to sell their artwork here too?  I was amazed at the beautiful pieces hung on the walls!

Paintings from Local artists.
This beautiful dish was prepared at Shaka.  It’s called Ohana Scallops.  They scallops are seared in lemon butter and are served on top of a citrus pineapple mango chutney.  It’s delicious, and I would recommend trying it.
This colorfull taco was prepared at The Fried Taco. The taco in this picture is the Carribean Jerk Chicken.  This taco is delicious! This taco is filled with jerk seasoned chicken thighs, sweet potato bits, queso fresco, and mango chutney. 
The slow cooked meat is shredded, stuffed into a corn tortilla and then fried.  Talk about a wow-factor!  Unfortunately, I could only eat one because I had other dishes to try, but you bet your bottom, when I go back it’s top on my list!
I love spicy food, so I tried the Pineapple Express and the Blueberry with my taco.  They both taste amazing, and yup they’re hot! My favorite is the Blueberry, but if you can’t take the heat, you better skip this one.
Check out these Beef Soya Sticks from Edie’s Grill – YUMMY!  The beef was well seasoned, with a bit of a smoky flavor and the sauce was a perfect, creamy addition to this dish.

We really enjoyed our visit here and will come back when we are in Oklahoma City. Besides, I didn’t get to try all the restaurants yet!

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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We love watching football and having football food.  This is a simple, easy to do, recipe that takes little time and it’s tasty too. Warm meatballs with melted gooey cheese make this a winning dish!

Ingredients:

  • 30 meat balls from 1 bag fully cooked Italian Meatballs
  • 10 rolls from 1 pkg. Sister Schubert’s Dinner Yeast Rolls (they are fully cooked)
  • 1 24 oz. jar Newman’s Own Sockarooni (or any other Jar of your preference)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.  Place 10 frozen rolls on a baking sheet.  Once oven is heated, bake rolls for 5 to 10 minutes, as per package directions.
  2. Cook the Sockarooni in a medium sized pot, on medium heat.  Carefully, sauce splatters.
  3. On a microwave safe plate, heat 30 meatballs for 1 minute. Once heated add to sauce. Stir to combine and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. When the rolls are heated through, remove from oven and slice in half.  Spoon 3 meatballs and some sauce on the roll, top with cheese and serve.

Notes:

The meatballs I bought were Walmart’s brand and they were pretty good, but you can use any brand you choose. 

You can also switch out the dinner rolls I used, but make sure they are fully cooked to save time.

I love Newman’s Own Brand, but with the other ingredients, it’s easy to swap out for any brand you like.

  • Servings: 2 to 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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My boys are married and no longer living at home, but whenever I see them, they insist, I make my smothered burritos, and man can they put them down.  This recipe is easy to do and if you have a larger crowd, it’s easy to double or triple the batch.  These are very filling and delicious too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 can refried beans, regular or spicy
  • 1 (1.5 oz.) pkg. McCormick Enchilada Sauce (seasoning in a packet)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce (used in the enchilada sauce)
  • 2 cups water (to be used in the enchilada sauce)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar, or Mexican mix
  • ½ cup sour cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉
  2. Make enchilada sauce according to package directions, but instead of 1 ½ cups of water you will use 2 cups water.
  3. Heat skillet to medium high and add ground beef, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Crumble the ground beef while cooking.  Small bite size pieces are what you are looking for.  Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Once cooked, drain and place in a medium size bowl.
  4. Place the refried beans into a microwave safe cooking dish, and heat for 1 minute.  
  5. Add the beans, chopped onion, and 1/4 cup sauce to the ground beef mixture. Stir to combine.
  6. Add enough sauce to cover the bottom (about a ¼ cup) of an 8×8 baking dish.
  7. Take 1 tortilla, lay it flat, and add 2-3 Tbsp. of meat/bean mixture. Spread evenly, top with a little cheese and roll like an enchilada. Place the burrito into the baking dish and continue this process until ingredients are used. *
  8. Top with additional cheese and bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly,
  9. Allow burritos to stand 5 – 10 minutes. Then top with a little sour cream and serve. 

Notes:

*Depending on how much filling you use, you may have extra ingredients.  When I have leftover meat/bean mixture I use it to make fried burritos the next day.

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is what I call comfort food.  My girlfriend is from Laos, and she introduced me to this beautiful dish.  It’s sweet, sour, and spicy. I can’t get enough of it, so I make it often!  I make mine spicy, but you can adjust the heat level to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups water
  • 1 – 14 oz pkg. frozen seafood mix
  • 12 large head on shrimp
  • 1 cube Knorr Caldo De Cameron
  • 4 thin slices galangal
  • 3 crushed lemon grass stalks, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 15 kaffir leaves
  • 1 medium yellow onion, divided (chop half, and slice the second half)
  • 10 Thai chili peppers, chopped *
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large pot add water and bouillon, bring to a boil.
  2. Clean the shrimp. Cut a small slice down the shell from the head to the tail.  Remove the shell and head and remove the vein from the back. ** Place the shell and the head into the pot of water. Place the shrimp meat in the refrigerator for later use.
  3. To the pot add the galangal, 2 lemon stalks, kaffir leaves and chopped onion. Turn heat to med-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim the top of the broth as needed to remove impurities. ***
  4. After the broth has simmered for 10 minutes, you will strain out the galangal, lemon stalks, kaffir leaves and onion from the broth, reserving the liquid.  
  5. Return the broth to the pot on med-high heat and add the remaining lemon stalk, ginger, and salt.  Simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Add the seafood mix, shrimp, Thai chili peppers, fish sauce and lime juice. Simmer until shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the lemon stalk and serve.

Notes:

*Thai chili peppers are very hot.  You can always adjust the heat level by using less and use more to heat things up.

**I used kitchen scissors to cut the back of the shrimp, but you can use a knife as well. 

Cut right down the back

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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When I tried this recipe, I was amazed at how well all the flavors came together. This is a succulent, Moroccan stew like dish that’s packed full of flavor. I created my version of this recipe and the family loved it.  I am sure you will too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into 1 in. cubes
  • 1 ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 med. yellow onion, cut into large strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz), undrained
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a bowl add paprika, cinnamon, salt, ginger, pepper flakes, black pepper, stir to combine.
  2. Add beef to bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet, and beef.  Cook until beef is browned, about 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Add onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute, or until onion is translucent.
  5. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Cook for 5 min.
  6. Add butternut squash, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve. 

Notes:

I like to serve this with a side of quinoa