On This Day And Every Day

Good morning all!

I hope everyone finds joy in today. May we all take the time to remember those who have served and sacrificed their lives so that we can continue to enjoy the freedom that we have today.

Today may be a holiday for us here in the U.S. but there are many that have and are sacrificing their lives for their country as well. May you all be remembered not just on this day, but on all the days to come. 


Hot Dog Quesadillas

These hot dog quesadillas are not only a great way to use up any leftover hot dogs, but they are pretty darn tasty as well. Just cook your hot dogs the way you like them, grilled, pan fried, in the oven or in the air fryer. Hubby and I really prefer ours cooked in the air fryer. It really tastes the closest to grilling them in my opinion. If you haven’t tried them this way, check out my post on Air Fryer Hot Dogs. Any which way you decide to cook them, they will taste delicious smothered in cheese and wrapped in a warm tortilla.

Here’s what you need:

*Cooked hot dogs

*flour tortillas any size; I used the 8 inch size

*shredded cheese; I used a Monterrey Jack cheddar blend

*oil for the griddle or pan

Slice the hot dogs length wise then cut into pieces.

Place a flour tortilla on a flat surface and add a desired amount of shredded cheese to one side of the tortilla.

Add the sliced hot dogs over the cheese.

Then sprinkle on more cheese on top of the hot dogs. You can never have too much cheese in my opinion. Fold in half.

Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. Brush the griddle or pan with a little oil. Place the quesadillas on the griddle.

Let them cook for about 3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the underside turns golden.

Carefully flip them over and cook another 2 minutes.

If you are making several batches at a time, preheat the oven to 250° and place the quesadillas that are done in the oven to keep warm.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.


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Beef Tips In A Marsala Wine Sauce

These beef tips are one of the ultimate comfort foods with tender beef that’s been slowly simmered in a rich, delicious marsala wine sauce. These are fantastic served over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. It might be getting a bit warm where you live….well down right warmer here in the south, but this dish is one of those that you wont mind serving up all year long because it’s just so darn swoon worthy. Not only is the tender, seasoned beef the star of this show, but the marsala beef sauce will make you want to lick the plate after. I really suggest not leaving out the marsala wine. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a good tasting one. I found some under $7.00 at my local wine store. This wine can also last 4 to 6 months in the cupboard.

When it comes to choosing the right cut of meat for these lovely beef tips, I like to buy a chuck roast when it’s on sale (it freezes wonderfully) and cut it into bite size pieces. You get more for your money in the long run, but you can buy beef that is already cut up, such as stew meat. Just be aware that stew meat is usually what has been leftover from other cuts of beef that has a lot of tougher connective tissue. For this slow cooked meal, stew meat is ok to use because it will need to be cooked slowly so the meat will be tender.

Here’s what you need:

*1 1/2 to 2 LBS chuck roast cut into bite size pieces or stew meat

*3 TBS flour

*1 1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

*1 tsp. rosemary

*1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

*1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*1 1/2 tsp. paprika

*1/2 tsp. salt; you can always add more later if needed

*cracked black pepper

*1 TBS butter

*olive oil

*2 small shallots or 1 large; chopped

*2 cloves garlic, minced

*2 cups beef broth

*3/4 cups marsala wine

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*3 TBS cornstarch + 1/4 cup cold water if needed for thickening

*parsley for garnish (optional)

Dry the beef tips with paper towels; set out at room temp. about 30 to 45 minutes before cooking.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place the beef into a large bowl; add in the flour, Thyme, Rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the beef with the mixture until all of the beef is completely coated.

In a Dutch oven, add a thin layer of olive oil at the bottom and heat to medium high heat. Add in some of the beef and sear on all sides. You may have to do this in a few batches so not to over crowd the pan.

Remove the beef and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium or medium low if the pan is too hot.

Add in the butter then the shallots and garlic cloves once the butter has melted. Cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly until the shallots just start to soften. Be careful that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Slowly add in the marsala wine and turn the heat back up to medium high. With a spoon, scrape off all of the brown bits at the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef tips back to the pan.

Stir together the beef broth and the Worcestershire sauce and pour into the pan.

Stir everything together and place covered into the oven.

Cook 2 1/2 hours or until the beef tips are tender.

If the sauce needs thickening, place the Dutch oven on the stove and heat on medium. Pour in the cornstarch water mixture and simmer until it thickens to your preference. Sprinkle with some of the parsley.

Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. If you need a good mashed potato recipe check out my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes.


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Baked Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

These little pockets of delight are filled with chicken cooked with adobo seasoning, chilies and garlic then smothered in Monterey Jack cheese. It’s all packed inside a homemade tortilla and baked until they are crispy on the outside, but soft and cheesy on the inside. Don’t fret if you don’t want to make your own tortillas. You can use pie dough or even pizza dough. I’ve used both of these several times and they all turn out great.

These half moon goodies can be filled with more than just chicken. You can fill them with beef, pork, vegetables or even eggs. These can be baked or fried, whichever you prefer. I like to brush them with oil and bake them instead of frying because it’s easier to just throw them into the oven and even easier to clean up, which I’m always for.

Most countries have their own versions of empanadas. In Colombia the dough is made with ground corn or with wheat or corn flour. Some are filled with mashed potatoes with ground meats, peanuts and cheese or even stews of meat or chicken with rice and vegetables. In Indonesia the thick crust is made from fried bread filled with spicy fish and chili, curry, potatoes or quail eggs. In some regions of Venezuela the fillings consist of shredded beef, chicken, cheese, black beans and fried plantains. So let your imagination and taste buds go a little wild and see what you might come up with, but first try these cheesy chicken empanadas. Not only do they make a great meal, but they can make a tasty snack as well.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*Chicken thighs; you can use chicken breasts if you prefer

*1 1/2 TBS. adobo seasoning or more to taste; you can usually find this at the grocery store or at any Latin market or you can make your own: *2 tsp. salt *1 TBS. paprika *2 tsp. ground black pepper *1 1/2 tsp. onion powder *1 tsp. garlic powder *1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano *1 1/2 tsp. cumin *1 tsp. chili powder

*1 dried or fresh chili pepper any kind you prefer, seeds and stems removed; I used dried Mexican Puya chili.

*2 clove of garlic, smashed

*canola oil for frying + to brush the empanadas

*shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

*homemade tortilla dough or pie crust dough

Preheat the oven to 400°

If using dried chili peppers, place in a glass bowl. Cover the pepper with boiling water and let it sit about 20 minutes or until it is soft. Take it out of the water and coarsely chop; set aside.

Dry chicken with paper towels and sprinkle with the adobo seasoning.

Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add in a thin layer of oil, the chili peppers and the garlic. As the oil heats up, stir the chopped chilis and garlic around in the oil. This helps the oil to infuse with all of those great flavors. When the oil is hot add the chicken.

If the oil is getting too hot, turn the heat down to medium.

Cook 5 minutes and turn the chicken over and cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is done. If the garlic starts to burn, remove it from the pan. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.

Let the chicken cool then chop into small pieces.

Make the tortillas and form into a 7″ thin circle.

Place some of the chicken and the shredded cheese onto one side of the dough.

Fold the dough over and using a fork, firmly press the edges together.

To seal the edges using a rope like method, I find it easier to fill the dough with the chicken and cheese while holding it in one hand.

Fold the dough over to form almost like a taco.

Starting a one end, pull some of the dough to overlap the edge and slightly pinch and twist to seal it closed. Repeat all the way around the opening until the edges are completely sealed.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. It took me several tries before I got the hang of it. Some of mine still look a bit “rustic”.

Fill the rest of the empanadas and seal.

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray or use parchment paper and place the empanadas onto the baking sheet.

Lightly brush each empanada with a little of the canola oil.

As you can see, not all of mine turn out pretty, but that’s when we use the word rustic. It sounds so much better doesn’t it.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside turns golden brown and the inside is hot.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Homemade Chili Flakes

Whenever I want to use chili flakes in a recipe or just sprinkle it on a few dishes for that extra kick, I usually reach for that little shakable container from the store. There is nothing wrong with that mind you, but sometimes it just tastes like the bottle might have been sitting on the grocery shelf for a while.

When my mother in law stayed with us for a few months, she cooked a lot with dried chilis. After she left to go back to Guatemala, she left behind a package of those tasty peppers.

I immediately started thinking what I could do with them. Then the idea came to me, why not make your own chili flakes? Yes, I do talk to myself a lot while I’m in the kitchen….don’t you?

I found that making homemade chili flakes out of dried chilis is quite easy. If you don’t have dried chilis, but fresh ones, no problem, you can dry them out in the oven. Another plus to making your own chili flakes, is that you can use any type of chili that you want. They are great sprinkled over pizza, in pasta or any dish that you want a add a little tasty heat to.

Here’s how you can make your own:

*Choose your chilis:
Most chili or red pepper flakes come from cayenne peppers, but you can choose any that you like. I used Puya chili peppers because that’s what I had on hand.

Using dried chilis:

Remove the stems. If you prefer less heat, remove the seeds as well but the seeds is mostly what gives chili flakes it’s well known punch.

Using Fresh Chilis:

pre heat oven to the lowest setting.

Wearing gloves, cut off the stem and split the chilis in half length wise. If you want less heat remove the seeds.

Place the chilis on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for approximately 6 hours or until the chilis look like they are dried out.

Cool completely.

Place chilis in a mini chopper or a coffee grinder. Just be sure if using a coffee grinder, it’s one that you will no longer use for grinding coffee.

Pule 3 or 4 times until the chilis are chopped into flakes, but are still a bit coarse.


Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth after handling the chilis. Make sure to wash your hands after touching them.

Make sure all cutting boards and mini choppers are thoroughly cleaned afterwards to make sure there are no longer any chili oils remaining.

Place in a sealable container preferably with a shaker top. These can be stored up to 3 to 6 months before they start to lose their flavor.


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