Roasted Sweet Potato Tostadas


Whether you call them chalupas or tostadas, this recipe will be a hit with your family. Take chalupa shells (purchase baked ones or toast corn tortillas in the oven until hard and crispy) and top with your favorite toppings such as mashed beans, avocado, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and my new favorite, roasted sweet potatoes. See recipe below.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1-2 garlic cloves


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, peel, and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and add crushed garlic that is well coated in olive oil. Carefully toss. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until pieces are soft and caramelized.




Quinoa, Nectarine, and Snap Pea Salad


This is my new favorite summer and late summer salad!

I made a few changes to the original recipe (substituting orange marmalade for mangy chutney, apple cider vinegar for rice wine vinegar, and salad greens for watercress). I also added diced avocados because I love avocados. I think your family will enjoy this. Mine did! (Even the kids.)


Adapted from: Curried Quinoa Salad with Nectarines and Sugar Snap Peas from July/August edition of Vegetarian Times.


8 oz. fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 Tbs. curry powder

2 and 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar

2 T. orange marmalade

1 and 1/2 T. olive oil

2 small nectarines or peaches cut into wedges

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups greens

2 small or 1 large avocado, diced

1. Cook sugar snap peas in sauce pan of boiling salted water 1/2 to 2 minutes or until crisp tender. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate with slotted spoon to drain.

2. Stir quinoa and 1 T.  curry powder into the same pot of boiling water. Cook 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile whisk vinegar, marmalade, and 1 T. of curry powder and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Toss together snap peas, nectarines, onion, and avocado into a large bowl. Add greens.

5. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold water to cook; drain again. Add quinoa and dressing to salad and toss to  coat.


Alton Brown’s Gazpacho

I love Alton Brown.  I’ve really enjoyed watching his shows over the years. I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website. 

This soup is so refreshing on a hot day.  Also, right now, tomatoes are plentiful and good. I made a few changes to the recipe:  I did not seed the tomatoes, but  I did peel them as he instructed.  I think with everything blended together in the food processor, I didn’t feel it was worth the trouble.  I also did not have bottled tomato juice. I did not add the onion.  I doubled the amount of lime juice and served it with Jalapeno Tabasco sauce.  The results were fantastic!  

P.S.  The  recipe as it is written got great reviews.


1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Tomato juice

1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade



Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil.

Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.

Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil.

Prep Time: 45 min

Slow Cooker – Soy Ginger Chicken

I found this recipe on It’s really tasty!  I think it would be great served with braised baby bok choy or some wilted green, or snow peas along with the jasmine rice.
I made a few changes based on the reviews on the website–specifically browning the chicken pieces before adding them to the slow cooker and cooking for the shorter time of 3 hours on low.  The recipe on the web suggested 6 hours, but reviewers said that was way too long.  The dish was flavorful, moist, savory–a winner.
Serves 4

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish

1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches long), peeled and cut into thin strips

5 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (1 cup packed)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

4 chicken drumsticks  and 4 thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total), skin removed

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced crosswise

1 tablespoon cornstarch

For Serving

cooked white rice


1     In a 5-to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, cilantro, ginger, 1/2 cup scallions, vinegar, coriander, and pepper.   In a saute pan on the stove, heat a little canola oil and brown the chicken pieces.  I used boneless chicken thighs and left the skin on the chicken legs.   Add chicken to slow cooker and carrots; toss to coat. Cover, and cook on low until chicken is tender, about 3 hours. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from surface of cooking liquid.

2               In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Ladle 1 cup cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture. Serve chicken with white rice, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and remaining 1/2 cup scallions.


Eggplant and Fig Pizza on a Cornmeal Crust


This pizza is very similar to the heirloom tomato and ricotta pizza from recent post. I just varied up the ingredients. See link:

I am so glad I discovered these crusts (Vicolo Corn Meal Pizza Crusts) and they are so good. While I like to make my own homemade crust, I don’t always have the time so these are a wonderful alternative. They are even available at HEB! They bake up amazingly using a pizza stone. The crust is dense and crispy. So delicious with seasonal roasted vegetables on top, fresh basil and your favorite cheese! The possibilities are endless!



1 corn meal pizza crust

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into slices

2 figs, cut into slices

1 cup ricotta cheese or goat cheese

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Garlic slices

Olive Oil

2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Bake pizza crust for 15 minutes and remove. Place eggplant slices on a roasting pan with olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place eggplant onto pizza crust  along with slices of fig and slices of garlic.  Top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese or goat cheese.  Sprinkle with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired. Add salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chopped, fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!

*Tip for using pizza stone, allow pizza stone to heat in the oven while the oven is preheating. Slice pizzas onto stone when ready cook. Assemble the pizzas on a separate cutting board and transfer assembled pizzas into the oven. Be careful! Remove cooked pizza and transfer to cutting board. Allow pizza stone to slowly cool. Sudden temperature changes may result in cracking of the pizza stone.