Baked Rigatoni with Savoy Cabbage and Fontina

Rigatoni, Savoy Cabbage, Fontina

Growing up, my mother would make savoy cabbage with spaghetti in a garlic and oil sauce.  It was one of my favorite pasta dishes.  We would have it regularly, at least once a month.  The savoy cabbage is similar to the regular green cabbage you may be used to, but the leaves are curly and the flavor is slightly sweeter than green cabbage.  This makes it a great accompaniment to the pasta.  So, when I came across this recipe by Loukie Werle, I had to try it.

This dish is made with fontina cheese, which comes from the
Val d’Aosta region in Italy. Fontina cheese has a soft texture, with a rich and
creamy flavor. It is perfect for melting. Be sure to buy the imported fontina
for the best flavor. 

I changed the recipe slightly with some of my own twists to
remind me of the flavor of my mother’s pasta.


¼ – cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – cup onion diced
2 – cloves garlic minced
6 – sage leaves
¼ – tsp. pepperoncino (crushed red pepper flakes)
1 – lb. rigatoni
1 – large russet potato
5 – cups shredded savoy cabbage
2/3 – cup Fontina cheese grated
¾ – cup parmigiano Reggiano grated
Ground Black Pepper


Peel the potato and cut into ¾ inch pieces.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Remove the potato with a slotted spoon and set aside until ready to assemble the pasta. Retain the boiling water for the rigatoni. Keep the flame on simmer until you are ready to cook the pasta.

Prepare the ingredients:

While the potatoes are cooking, dice the onion and garlic
and set aside.  Cut the cabbage in half
and remove the core.  Cut each half in
half again, and make think slices to shred the cabbage.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot.  Add the diced onion and garlic and sauté on medium heat until the onion starts to become lucid.  Reduce the heat a little, then add the sage leaves and pepperoncino. Cook for one – two minutes, making sure not to burn the sage. 

Next add the shredded cabbage, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir and sauté until the cabbage begins to wilt. 

Add the potatoes to the cabbage, mix well.  Set aside until the pasta is ready. Once you add the cabbage to the skillet, add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook as directed on the package or until al dente.

Assemble the pasta:

Rub butter over the bottom and sides of a large baking
pan.  Add half of the cooked
rigatoni.  Top with half of the cabbage
mixture, then spread half of the grated fontina cheese and half of the
parmigiano cheese. 

Add the remainder of the rigatoni and top with the remainder
of the cabbage and fontina and parmigiano cheeses.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake in a 350˚ oven for 45 minutes.  Check at 30 minutes.  It should be bubbling and lightly browned on top.

Buon Appetito!

Vegan Thai Red Curry

Vegan Thai Red Curry

One of my favorite dishes is Thai Red Curry with tofu. The complex flavors of the curry are warm and satisfying like no other dish I have ever eaten. My son, Andrew, first introduced me to Thai food after his travels to Thailand. He has traveled there a few times for both pleasure and school, and has become very fond of the culture and the food of the country.

I am not vegan, but I do like to eat healthy and I am always looking for easy vegan recipes to add to my collection. Therefore, I decided to make a vegan version of my favorite Thai dish, which was simple to do–just remove the fish sauce and use tofu for the protein. It is easy to make and I think you are going to love it.

This Thai inspired dish, is very easy to make. Most of the ingredients can be found at a regular grocery store, but I was not able to find the Thai chili so I used a jalapeño to add some heat.

Let’s get started!

Marinade for Tofu:

1 – garlic clove minced
3 – tbls. soy sauce
1 – tbls. honey (or brown sugar)
3 – tbls. rice vinegar
1/2 – tsp. red pepper flake
1 – 10 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed


First, drain the tofu and wrap it in paper towels to absorb the extra water. You can also place a heavy pan on top of it to help squeeze out some of the water. Let is sit about 15 minutes to get out as much water as possible.

Next, place all the ingredients into a container with an air tight lid and stir to blend all the ingredients. Once the tofu is ready, cut it into one inch cubes. Place the cubed tofu into the marinade and seal tight. The tofu is delicate, so instead of mixing with a spoon, turn the container upside down a few times to cover all the pieces with the marinade. Let it marinate about 30 minutes, rotating the container periodically to make sure all the tofu marinates evenly.

Once the tofu has marinated long enough, heat a little canola oil in a large non-stick skillet. Cook until browned on all sides. Be careful not to break up the pieces when turning them. When they are ready, set aside until the curry is ready.

Ingredients for the Curry:

1/2 – cup thinly sliced red onion
1 – thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 – cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 – cup carrots
2 – cloves garlic minced
1/2 – small jalapeño pepper, sliced into rings (or Thai Chili if you can find it)
1/2 – cup vegetable stock
3 – tbls. red Thai curry paste
14 – oz. coconut milk
1 – lime and zest
1 – tsp. grated ginger
2 – tsp. honey (or brown sugar)
1/8 – tsp. chili sauce
1 – tsp. salt
1 – 2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)


Cut the red onion, red bell pepper, and crimini mushrooms into thin slices. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger using a microplane. Next, slice half of a jalapeño pepper into thin rings, and the carrot into thin rounds.

In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and simmer about 5 minutes until they become translucent.

Next add the red curry paste and stir well until it dissolves into the liquid, then add the red bell peppers, mushrooms, jalapeño, and carrots to the pot.

Now add the coconut milk, lime juice, and lime zest.

Mix well and bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

Once the curry is ready, add the salt and honey. Stir well, then add the tofu, and about two tablespoons of chopped cilantro.

Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.

BLT with Spicy Avocado Yogurt Mayo

BLT Avocado Yogurt mayo

A BLT is an American classic.  The combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato with a little mayonnaise and a crusty bread make the perfect sandwich.  A BLT is always my “go to” when I don’t know what else to order in a deli or diner, because it is not difficult to make; however, the quality of the sandwich is all dependent on the quality of the products you use.

Today I bring the sandwich to a higher level by choosing a whole grain sour dough bread, thick sliced bacon, and instead of mayonnaise, I made a spicy avocado yogurt mayo.  It is simple and delicious, and adds more protein to the sandwich to counteract all the carbs from the bread. Give this a try. . . . you won’t be disappointed.


16 – slices thick cut bacon
8 – slices whole grain sour dough bread
2 – large ripe tomatoes
Romain lettuce
1 – ripe avocado
¼ – cup fresh lemon juice
½ – cup plain greek yogurt
½ – tsp. salt
¼ – tsp. white ground pepper
1/8 – tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less to your taste)


Start by frying the bacon in a large skillet until it is golden brown.  While the bacon is frying, let’s make the avocado yogurt mayo.

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit.  Scoop out the avocado and add it to a food processor (you can also use a blender).  Next add the greek yogurt, lemon juice, white pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.  If you do not like spice, use half the amount of cayenne pepper. Blend thoroughly until smooth and creamy.  Cover and set aside until the bacon is ready.

Spicy avocado yogurt mayo
Spicy Avocado Yogurt Mayo

You can make the avocado yogurt mayo ahead of time as long as you cover it well so that no air gets into the container.  

Once the bacon is nearly cooked, place it on a paper towel to drain.  In the meantime you can start to prepare the toast.  Slice the sour dough bread and toast it lightly.  Once the bacon and toast are done, it’s time to assemble the sandwich.

Spread a generous amount of the avocado yogurt mayo on both slices of bread.  Then place 4 slices of bacon on one half.


Next top it off with two large slices of tomato, and romain lettuce.  

It’s that simple.


Makes 4 sandwiches


Potato, Pierogi, Cheese

The first pierogi I ever ate were made by my mother-in-law.  I was instantly hooked. They were pasta filled pockets with creamy mashed potatoes, cheese, and onion…what’s not to like. Pierogi can be filled with many things, other than potato, such as sauerkraut, ground meat, cabbage, and cheese, to name a few. 

Mom made three different kinds of pierogi—two savory and one sweet. The savory are the potato with onion and farmer’s cheese that I mentioned, and the second one is fresh green cabbage with onion and farmer’s cheese. The sweet pierogi are filled with purple plums, a dab of butter and a sprinkle of sugar. They are light and delicately sweet.  My favorite, though, are the cabbage filled.  Mom used fresh cabbage instead of sauerkraut, which I prefer because it has a mild, sweet taste.

I learned to make the pierogi by helping my mother-in-law make them for the holidays. She did not write down the recipe for me, but while we worked, I payed close attention to the ingredients and proportions she used so that I could make them on my own. Soon it was my job to make them for the family holiday meals.

Over the years I have made some adjustments to the recipe. Today I am making my latest versions of both the potato and the cabbage filled pierogi inspired by my mother-in-law.

Potato and Farmer’s Cheese Pierogi


2 – lbs. Russet Potatoes
2 – 2.5 oz. pkgs. Farmers Cheese
2 – medium-large onions
1 – stick unsalted butter
1/4 – cup whole milk
ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the mean time, peel and cut in quarters 2 pounds of russet potatoes.  When the water comes to a boil; add 1 tablespoon of salt and the potatoes. Cook until fork tender.

While the potatoes are cooking; dice two medium/large onions. 

Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large skillet, then add the diced onion and sauté until they are translucent.

Do not brown the onion. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper when they are almost done.

When the potatoes are ready, drain them thoroughly and place them in a large bowl.  Add the remainder of the stick of butter, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1/4 cup milk. Using a potato masher, mash them until they are smooth. 

mashed potatoes

Add the sautéed onions and mix well.  Let cool about 15 minutes before adding the cheese.

Once the potatoes have cooled enough you can add the farmers cheese. 

Mix well until all the cheese in incorporated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Makes 3 dozen pierogi.

Now let’s make the dough . . .

Pierogi Dough


4 – cups all purpose flour
3 – eggs
1-1/4 – cups sour cream
1 – tsp – baking powder
1-1/2 – tsp salt


Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then add two whole eggs and one extra yolk only.

Mix with a fork like scrambling eggs. Then add 1-1/4 cups sour scream into the eggs and continue mixing until well incorporated.

Once it is thoroughly mixed start to incorporate the flour a little at a time until it starts to come together. It will appear dry and lumpy. Turn it out onto the board and knead until all the flour is incorporated, and the dough is soft, but not sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To assemble . . .

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface.

Notice how smooth and silky the dough is. Knead the dough briefly and cut it into 6 equal pieces. Take one of the pieces and place on floured surface and roll out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. While you are rolling out this piece, keep the rest of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out. I usually place the dough under a bowl to keep it moist.

Next use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to make circles in the dough, then remove the excess dough, leaving only the circles. Put the excess dough with the rest of the dough.

Fill a small bowl with a little water. Place a spoonful of filling in the center of one of the circles, then dip your finger in the water and wet the edges of the circle. You can also use a pastry brush to wet the edges if you prefer, but I work better with my hands.

Fold the dough over the filling to make a half moon. You may have to stretch the dough a little to cover the filling completely.

Fold dough into a half moon

Use your fingers to press the edges of the pierogi together. You can dip your fingers in flour to help secure the edges.

Place the finished pierogi on a floured cookie sheet. Continue making the rest of the pierogi.

If you are not going to cook the pierogi the same day that you make them, you will need to freeze them. Fill a cookie sheet with the pierogi and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, long enough for the dough to start to freeze. This is necessary so the pierogi do not stick together. Next, place a little flour in a large zip lock bag and add the partially frozen pierogi. Freeze immediately. You can keep them in the freezer for about 6 weeks. When you are ready to cook them, do not thaw the pierogi. Add them frozen directly into the boiling water.

To cook . . .

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  In the meantime, dice two large onions and sauté them in 5 tablespoons of butter until they start to caramelize.  This process takes about 40 minutes.  Mix often not to let them burn.  

When the water is boiling, add salt and the pierogi one at a time.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon to make sure they do not stick together.  Cover and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the flame to a slow boil and stir occasionally.  Cook about 5 minutes.  The pierogi should float to the top.  Remove them with a slotted spoon into a large colander to drain.  Transfer the pierogi to a platter and pour the caramelize onions and butter over top.  Serve immediately.

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

Here is the Cabbage Recipe . . .

Cabbage filling


2 – lb. green cabbage
2 – 2.5 oz. pkgs. Farmers Cheese
2 – medium-large onions
1 – stick unsalted butter
Salt and Black Pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling add 2 teaspoons salt and one tablespoon white vinegar. In the mean time, rinse the cabbage then cut it into quarters.  Cut out the core, and  cut the cabbage into thin slices, cutting across the quartered pieces.

Add the shredded cabbage to the boiling water. Once the pot comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender about -5-7 minutes.

While the cabbage is cooking. Dice onions and sauté in 3 tablespoons butter until translucent. Do not brown.

When the cabbage is tender drain and let cool enough until you can handle it. Once it has cooled take a handful at a time and squeeze out the excess water. Then lay out the cabbage on sturdy paper towels and roll it up to absorb a little more water.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl, add the sautéed onions. Melt the rest of the stick of butter and add it to the cabbage. Add one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and mix well. Add Farmer’s cheese and mix well. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

The filling is now ready. See instructions above to assemble the pierogi.

Makes about 3 dozen pierogi.

Cabbage and Cheese Pierogi

Tomato Soup

Homemade tomato soup is a treat all year round. The soup is easy to make and versatile. You can serve it as a first course, with a sandwich, or eat it alone. Any way you choose you will not be disappointed. It is delicious and satisfying.

In this recipe I use chicken stock instead of water to enhance the flavor. Personally I prefer to use chicken stock, but you can easily make this a vegetarian soup by using vegetable stock. If you choose to use vegetable stock, use a good quality stock that you have tried and like.

Let’s get started. . .


3 – lbs. fresh Roma tomatoes
1 – tbls. olive oil
2 – carrots
1 – medium onion
3 – cloves garlic
4 – large basil leaves
2 – tbls. tomato paste
2 – cups organic chicken stock
1 1/2 – tsp. sugar
1 – tsp. salt
1 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 – cup heavy cream

Dice carrots and onion, and mince the garlic. Heat olive oil in medium sized pot and add diced vegetables and garlic. Sprinkle with a little salt. Sauté about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. In the meantime, dice the tomatoes, then add them to the pot.

Roll the basil leaves as one and slice into ribbons.

Add the basil to the pot and mix well.

Continue to cook about 2 minutes. Once the tomatoes start to make water, clear a spot in the pot and add the tomato paste.

Stir tomato paste and cook about one minute. Be careful not to let it burn. Add chicken broth (if you want to make this vegetarian, add vegetable stock instead).

Add sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Taste the soup to see if it needs any additional salt or pepper. Slowly add the heavy cream, stir and cook about one minute to warm the cream.

The soup will have some texture with pieces of tomato and vegetables, which is the way we prefer it; however, if you prefer it smooth, you can purée it in a blender.

Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Tofu Reuben Sandwich with Broccoli Slaw

Tofu Reuben, Broccoli, Slaw

A classic Reuben sandwich is made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. It is one of my all time favorites; however, I avoid eating it because I try to eat healthier. One day I was having lunch in a local cafe and noticed on the menu a Tofu Reuben sandwich. I had to try it. I am always looking for new ways to make tofu, so I was delighted to find that this sandwich was very satisfying. Just substituting the corned beef with the tofu turned a very decadent sandwich into a healthy, delicious one.

So I am making for you today my own version of a Tofu Reuben Sandwich. This is a great vegetarian sandwich that is hearty and satisfying. I enhanced the tofu with the warm spices of cumin and paprika, then grilled it lightly before adding it to the sandwich. Then I elevated the flavors with a homemade thousand island dressing.

Let’s start with the dressing. . .

Thousand Island Dressing

You can buy a bottled dressing, but I prefer to make my own. The recipe for homemade Thousand Island Dressing is very easy to make, and the flavor is fresh and delicious.

1/2 – cup low fat mayonnaise
2 – tbls. sweet relish
2 – tbls. ketchup
2 tsp. finely diced red onion
1/2 – clove garlic finely minced
1 – tsp. white vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 – tsp. Sriracha hot sauce ( or more if you desire)

Finely dice the red onion, and mince one-half clove of garlic.  Add all the ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use .

Broccoli Slaw

I also served the sandwich with a broccoli slaw salad.  You can find the broccoli slaw in most grocery stores.  Broccoli is a nice variation to coleslaw.  I add a little extra red cabbage and red onion to the store bought mix to enhance the flavors.  Instead of a mayonnaise based dressing, I made a honey mustard vinaigrette. It is the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

12 oz – pkg. broccoli slaw
1 cup – thinly sliced red cabbage
2 tbls. – olive oil
2 tbls. – apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. – cayenne pepper
1 tsp. – Dijon mustard
Dash ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. – salt
1 tbls. – honey
1/2 clove – finely minced garlic
1/3 cup – diced red onion

Thinly slice the red cabbage, and dice the onion.  Add the broccoli slaw, red cabbage and onion in a large bowl, and set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Whisk until it emulsifies.  Pour over the slaw mixture and mix well.  Place in refrigerator for one hour before serving.

Now for the star of the meal . . .

Tofu Reuben Sandwich

16 oz. – Extra Firm Tofu
16 oz. – bag of Sauerkraut, drained
1/2 – lb. Swiss cheese
1 – loaf sour dough bread
Ground black pepper

Drain the tofu and use paper towel to soak up the excess water. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper to taste. Moderately sprinkle both sides with cumin and paprika.

Heat a little canola on a cast iron grill or pan. Cook until lightly browned on each side, about 3 minutes.

Assemble the sandwich. . .

Spread thousand island dressing on both slices of bread; top each slice with Swiss cheese. Place two slices of the grilled tofu on one slice and top off with sauerkraut.

Top off with sauerkraut

Add a little butter to the grill pan. Once it is melted add the sandwich and grill on both sides until golden brown. Add more butter as needed.

Serve immediately and Enjoy!

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Purée of Zucchini Soup

Purée of Zucchini Soup

These cold winter days are perfect for a bowl of creamy zucchini soup. Unlike most heavy cream soups, this one is light, smooth, healthy, and delicious without giving up any flavor. Instead of using heavy cream, this soup gets its thick, rich flavor from adding a potato and a little low fat milk. This soup makes a perfect after work meal not only because it is delicious, but also because it is a fast and easy one pot meal. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread for a great meal.

4 – small zucchini
1 – large Idaho potato
1 – large onion
1 – carrot
1 – small bunch of celery leaves
2 – garlic cloves
1 -qt. Chicken stock
1/2 – tsp. Salt
Gound black pepper to taste
1/2 – cup 2% milk
Crema Mexicana (for garnish)

Cut off the ends of the zucchini, peel the onion, potato, carrot, and garlic. Quarter each of the vegetables and place the them in a medium sized pot, add the garlic and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame to medium and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Add salt and pepper.

When the vegetables are fork tender, turn off the flames and use an immersion blender to purée the vegetables. Be careful not to cause the hot liquid to splash.

Once it is smooth, add the milk and stir thoroughly.

This soup can easily be made either vegetarian or vegan. Use can substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock, and the milk can be left out all together. It will still be just as delicious.

To serve, drizzle a little crema on top and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin topped with Pancetta

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Pancetta

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin is one of the ultimate comfort foods. As a pork lover, this is tops in my book. The pork is delicious, the pancetta topping cooks up crisp, which adds a crunchy layer of texture, and it presents well too. It looks as though you worked so hard to make this roast, but in reality it is very easy.

As some of you know, this is the first post I have written in quite some time. My family and I were busy moving. We downsized from our home of almost 30 years to an apartment. We moved in just in time to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home, and it was truly wonderful. We spent the day together as a family, and my son and I prepared the entire meal together. This pork tenderloin was the highlight of the meal. We also made from scratch, taglietelle, and an apple tart to finish off the meal. Working with Andrew is always a pleasure. Well enough about us, let’s get to the recipe.

2 1/2 lbs – pork tenderloin (butterflied)
Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
4 oz. Baby Spinach
Olive Oil
Bread Stuffing (see below)

Ingredients for Stuffing:
1 1/2 cups italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tbls. Olive oil
1/2 tsp. Ground black pepper
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
3 tbls. water

In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well.  Add more water a little at a time until the mixture is moist, but not wet, and holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.

It should hold together in your hand

Set aside until you prepare the pork tenderloin. 

Let’s prepare the pork . . .

When you buy the tenderloin, ask the butcher to butterfly it for you.  Before you stuff it, use a mallet or small heavy bottomed pot to pound it out a little just to make an even thickness throughout.  

Pork Tenderloin

Sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt, black pepper, and the Herbes de Provence.  Spread the bread crumb stuffing over the pork, leaving a small border around the edges.  Drizzle a little olive oil if you think it needs it. 

pork tenderloin, bread crumb stuffing

Top off with spinach and sprinkle with a little salt (optional). Now it is time to roll it up into a log.

Start at one end with both hands and roll tight. Continue to roll being careful to keep all the stuffing inside by tucking it in on the sides as you go. 

Top off the tenderloin with thin slices of Pancetta, overlapping the slices as you go down the length of the roll.

Use butcher’s twine to tie the rolled tenderloin before roasting it.  There are several ways to tie the twine, but I find it difficult to explain in writing how to do it, so I have supplied this link to various Youtube videos that do just that.

Drizzle a little oil on the bottom of a roasting pan and place the roast in the pan.  Bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°.  All ovens are different, so I suggest you start checking the internal temperature at the 35 minute mark. If it needs more time don’t worry. As long as the internal temperature comes up to 145° it will be moist and delicious.

Let the roast rest about 4-5 minutes before slicing it, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce and Pickled Red Onions

Shrimp Tacos, Cilantro Lime Sauce, Pickled Onions

These shrimp tacos are seasoned perfectly, and make a delicious and healthy meal that are easy to make too.  Tacos are a great way to bring people together at a casual dinner party, family dinner or a fun way to spend an evening with good friends.

Tacos are very popular because there are so many options.  You can use chicken, pulled pork, beef, fish, shrimp, lobster, bean, anything you like.  They are also fun to eat and put together…a family dinner becomes a special time together, not just another meal.

Let’s begin with the shrimp. . . 

Ingredients for Shrimp Tacos:
1 – lb. large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2 – tsp. Chili powder
1/2 – tsp. Paprika
1/2 – tsp. Adobo Seasoning
1/2 – tsp. Cumin
1/4 – tsp. Garlic powder
1/4 – tsp. Ground black pepper
1/4 – tsp. Salt (or to taste)
1 – tbls. Olive oil
1 – tbls water if needed
1- package corn tortillas

Peel and devein the shrimp then rinse them in cold water.  Pat dry with paper towel.  Add all the spices to a bowl the add the olive oil and mix well.

Now add the shrimp to the spices and stir to coat the shrimp thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cooking.

While the shrimp are marinating, prepare the condiments.  

You can use a variety of condiments for tacos, such as pico de gallo, guacamole, cilantro, onion, lettuce, cheese, crema, and much more. Today I am topping off the shrimp with pickled red onions, cilantro lime jalapeño sauce, and crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream).

Let’s start with the cilantro lime sauce.

Ingredients for Cilantro Jalapeño Lime Sauce:
2 –  packed cups of fresh cilantro
1 – large lime
1 – jalapeño 
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground pepper
2 – tbls. olive oil
1 – tbls. water if needed

Add the cilantro, juice of one lime, jalapeño, salt, black pepper, and olive oil to a food processor and blend until smooth.  If the consistency is too thick add a little water.

Store the sauce in a small jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  It will last about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Now let’s make the pickled onions.

Pickled Red Onion:
1 – large red onion sliced
1/2 – cup cider vinegar
1/2 – cup water
1 1/2 – tbls honey
1 – tbls sugar

Peel and cut onion in half. Thinly slice the onion and place the onion slices into a glass canning jar.  

Pour the vinegar, water, honey and sugar into a small sauce pan.  Heat just long enough to dissolve the honey and sugar.  

Pour the vinegar mixture over the sliced onions in the canning jar. Mix with a spoon to cover the onions. Cover the jar with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.  

The pickled onions will last two weeks in the refrigerator.

When the onions have had about one hour to pickle, you can cook the shrimp.

Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet, then add the shrimp.  Cook until they start to turn pink, then turn and repeat.  They cook quickly; it should only take about 4-5 minutes.

Assemble the tacos. First warm the tortillas in the oven or toaster oven.

Place the shrimp in the corn tortilla, and top with onions, then drizzle a little cilantro lime sauce and crema.  You can double up on the corn tortilla if you like.  They won’t break apart that way.

Serve immediately.

Makes 8 tacos.

Pico de Gallo with fresh made Tortilla Chips

Pico de Gallo, tomatoes, onion, cilantro

Pico de Gallo is a delicious, healthy, versatile condiment to use any time of the year.  It is especially delicious in the summer months when tomatoes are in season.  The freshness of the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and lime go great with tortilla chips, on tacos, on top of nachos, or with your favorite grilled meats.

You can use store bought pico de gallo, but this is so simple to make you won’t want to use store bought again. Not only is it great to serve at a party or barbecue, but because it is so easy to make you will want to keep it on hand to serve at home any time.

Here it goes…


2 – cups dices ripe tomatoes
1/2 – cup diced onion
1/2 – cup cilantro
1 – jalapeño or Serrano pepper (optional)
1 – lime
1/2 – tsp. salt


Dice the tomatoes, using a knife instead of a food processor so that the tomatoes are in small pieces and not crushed into a liquid sauce by the blades of the food processor. This will make a nice chunky salsa.

Chop finely the onion, jalapeño, and cilantro (we like a little heat, but if you do not you don’t have to use the jalapeño). Place all ingredients in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lime over the tomato mixture and sprinkle the salt.

Mix well and set aside for about 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. 

Refrigerate it if you are not going to use it the same day; however, remove it about one hour before you want to use it to allow it to return to room temperature.  I always serve the pico de gallo at room temperature because it tastes best that way.  

Serve with fresh made tortilla chips . . .

It is very easy to do and the result is well appreciated.

Cut the corn tortilla in half and then in half again, making four triangle shaped pieces.  Heat a little canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet.  Place the triangles pieces in a single layer in the skillet and cook until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side. It only takes a couple minutes, so do not walk away from the stove.

Remove to a paper towel and sprinkle with a little salt.  Continue cooking the rest of the tortillas.

Serve immediately.