Green Bean Bacon Bundles

An Appetizer All Will Enjoy

Green Bean Bacon BundleYou may have tried a similar recipe as a side dish but we’re having these as appetizers. A man pleasin’ vegetable everyone will enjoy! Yep, we’ve already popped the cork. Champagne is a breakfast drink, isn’t it?

If you like your green beans a bit crunchy just precook the bacon slightly. Otherwise, if you don’t mind a bit of browning and caramelization to your green beans, wrap without the bacon precooking and roast. That simple!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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Still in search of Estrada’s

Macaroni and Cheese

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese

Each year around this time I complete an on-line search for Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen recipes … Always hopeful but never successful. For forty years our family frequented this restaurant on Christmas Eve. With the passing of three members of our immediate family we held ourselves together and continued this tradition until the restaurant closed in our city, Visalia … the original location of the restaurant which later became a small chain. It was, is, a significant part of our lives.

This year I sorta hit the jackpot. Chowhound Chow message board had multiple entries about this restaurant and the secret recipes. I quickly zeroed in on the Macaroni and Cheese, one of my favorites. The recipe is simple. I had been advised by an Estrada’s family member most of their recipes are surprising simple. There was that Velveeta Cheese! Yikes! Well, it kinda makes sense. Velveeta and Estrada’s made their debut about the same time. And who knew … Velveeta is one of those secret ingredients chefs use for the meltability but maybe like to keep quiet.

About the recipe here, this is very good and oh so easy but sorry for Estrada’s fans … It isn’t even close to the Estrada’s Macaroni and Cheese I remember. But it does provide a starting point. How does this one miss the mark? Not as sweet, sauce is orange not red, spices are too prominent (not a bad thing but not Estrada’s), the right size of bucatini is hard to come by, and well, just maybe Velveeta wasn’t used.

If I was to do this again, and I will, I’d use their authentic enchilada sauce. I have what is supposed to be the Daly City Estrada’s, the last of the chain, recipe. Yet, I am not truly convinced the sauce used for their macaroni and cheese is a modification of enchilada sauce.

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Casserole or Individual Enchiladas

It’s Up To You!

Green Enchilada Casserole

I apologize. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera. We actually finished this off in one sitting … it was so good.

Mentioned to my daughter about my creation, this Simple Green Enchilada Casserole, with only five ingredients and she said, “Oh yeah, I have that recipe!” You do! I didn’t know it was one!

So, while my daughter was setting up the family room for a little celebration I put this together in about 10 minutes and baked it through in 40. Serve with a Taco Salad. Perfect!

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Burritos, Enchiladas, and Tomatillo Sauce

When you have little ones around you haven’t time to do from scratch or completely from scratch! I have changed up this recipe … makes in 10-15 minutes, bakes 40 and done.

This is coming soon along with many family secrets including our squeezing in cookie decorating when all of us were unraveling from little sleep. Yikes!

In the meantime try this! Burritos, Enchiladas and Tomatillo Sauce Amazing!

Happy Holidays and see you soon!

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Prune Cake

Our Family’s Version Of Fruit Cake

Prune Cake

Leave well enough alone  knowing when is the trick! A hard lesson for me! I love this cake but the outcome is not always consistent. It might be from my need to make the recipe easier or more like a traditional layer cake. I’m always adding to or subtracting ingredients. The original is delicious and it’s time to leave it alone.

Sorry George, I lied! George is the newest in-law and I was mentioning my next post. I could see it in his eyes, we’re having WHAT for dessert? It doesn’t taste like prunes! OopsIt does! But for me since I don’t find prunes alone palatable but love this cake … I had forgotten.

Fruit Cake – Prune Cake, moist fruit filled with butter cream cheese frosting.

Prunes are not just for breakfast!

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Chicken Fettuccine Peas Mushrooms Tomatoes

Chicken Fettuccine

Did I mention I never grow tired of Italian! Any Italian recipe with pasta is my friend, especially with a splash of wine … The wine either in the recipe or my glass … I’m not picky. (Not sure my kids would agree with the not picky.)

This recipe takes about 30 minutes start to finish and presents well for company. I always lean toward Pinot Noir but a glass of Chardonnay is a compliment as well … And Chianti Classico.


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Easy Delicious Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

A few days rain and I’m craving soup, a nice hearty vegetable beef soup. And I love this! It’s hard to go wrong with Minestrone Soup. I’ve made the vegetarian, well vegan to be exact but I crave it with a little beef this time. It’s to rain twice more this coming week and I know this is just what the family’s going to want on those rainy days.

This is a no hurry recipe but can be made quickly by eliminating the beef short ribs and using the beef broth alone. Can be whipped up in 30 minutes. Or use your slow cooker by layering all the ingredients. Versatile.

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