A few years ago, I photographed a wedding. At the end of the night I was able to grab a quick bite to eat. One of the dishes I tried is one I had wished I had gotten the recipe for. It was a mashed potato casserole with shrimp and sausage in it. I was floored. It had cheese in it and it was so good!

I am thinking maybe I should reach out to the bride and ask her, but until then, I saw these online and it made me think of that delicious dish.

Mashed potatoes, in shrimp, rolled in chips? What?  Seems crazy but it seems soooooo sinfully good.

Check out this recipe by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

I bet this would be perfect at parties.

I am a sucker for a philly cheesesteak.

Being a mama and a lady who likes to throw parties, I am always looking for things to make that can act as snacks or appetizers. My cousin told me a couple years ago that one of her favorite appetizers were empanadas. I had never had one but immediately upon consulting google, I feel in love.

Of course, I will try and make more traditional versions but I had a hankering for some cheesesteak. I had flour, I had meat...I had time. So cheesesteak empanadas it was.

This is super easy and tasty...and perfect for parties.  And the sauce....not your typical cheese whiz....a little heavy whipping cream and smoked gouda with some cheddar makes it delicious.

I used this dough recipe from Laylita.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and cut into 12 pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 tbs water
    Making homemade empanada dough:
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms.
  3. To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together. To make it easier to incorporate the butter you can freeze it and then grate it into the flour mix.
  4. Form a ball, flatten slightly, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate).
  6. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator/freezer to use later.
  7. Assembling and baking the empanadas:
  8. To assemble the empanadas or turnovers, place a spoonful of the filling on the middle of each empanada disc. The amount of filling will vary based on the size of the empanada, but in general, it’s easier to seal an empanada that isn’t overstuffed. Also, the more you make empanadas, the easier it becomes to stuff them to the max and still seal them properly.
  9. To seal the empanadas, fold the disc and seal the edges by pressing the dough with your fingers. If you’re having a hard time sealing the edges, you can use brush the inside edges with egg white, it will act as a glue for the empanadas. You can also use a fork to help seal the edges, just press the top of the fork against the edges. To the repulgue or churito, the curl type seal, use your fingers to twist the curl the edges. There are also empanada molds that you can buy and will help seal the empanadas.
  10. For best results, I recommend refrigerating for at least 30 minutes the empanadas before baking – this also helps them seal better and prevents the filling from leaking out.
  11. If you want your empanadas to have a nice golden finish, then you can brush them with egg wash (a whole egg whisked or egg yolk plus a few drops of water whisked).
  12. Bake the empanadas in a pre-heated oven. I usually bake them at 375F-400F, the temperature will vary based on the oven and the size of the empanadas. I bake the smaller sized empanadas at 375F. The baking time also varies (again based on the oven and size), but it’s in the range of 18-25 minutes – the empanadas will be ready once they are golden.
(dough recipe from Laylita)


1 New York Strip Steak (sliced, diced, chopped)
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 white onion chopped
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cook your steak with a little salt and pepper. Allow to cool and slice and chop. In skillet, add your butter and then your sliced and chopped bell pepper and onion. Add in a tsp of salt and pepper or as to taste.  Cook until soft and translucent. 

Mix in steak and cook for about 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roll out your dough as lined above. Cut into circles. I used a ramekin as my guide to size. It was enough to make 8 full serving empanadas.  Fill with steak filling. Fold over and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with an egg white wash. Bake as above.

Cheese Dipping Sauce

1/2 block smoked gouda cheese
1/2 block cheddar
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

In pot pour in whipping cream, add in cheeses chopped.  Cook on low, stirring until cheeses melt. Add more whipping cream if too gooey. Remove from heat and serve as a dipping sauce for the empanadas.

This is a recipe I posted a few years ago. It is sooooo good. If you love alfredo sauce, shrimp, artichoke and spinach, oh yes, you should try this.   We love pasta over here, so this is the perfect meal for cool nights. 

You will need:

pasta (cooked and drained, then added a bit of olive oil, tossed, to avoid pasta from sticking together)

3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of italian seasoning
Creole seasoning to taste

Artichoke hearts (quartered, drained and rinsed)
fresh baby spinach

In skillet, put in 2 tbsp of butter and let melt on medium heat. Add in rinsed artichokes and let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring so they do not burn. Add in shrimp and add in creole seasoning and dash of italian seasoning. Once cooked, pour in heavy whipping cream, add parmesan and seasoning. Stir constantly, add in fresh spinach and stir. The spinach will cook down in a few minutes. If it is not enough sauce, add more whipping cream. Serve over your pasta.

*I kinda go a bit heavy on seasoning, so add it slowly and taste to make sure it is seasoned to your liking.

It is not everyday that your oldest child turns 16. Even though her birthday party is not until later this month, I had to do something. So a simple Asian dinner it was...her favorite.

Her party will be fused with much better Asian dishes....I just had to get something on the table though to celebrate.

Here are a few detail shots.

My children love good food. When they were younger, of course, I did the easy chicken nuggets, fish sticks and all that jazz, but for the most part, I introduced them to foods so that they would not be picky eaters. They have grown up in this Southern household eating southern staples as well as my somewhat exotic kitchen 'must-trys'.

While planning the weekly dinner menu, my daughter asked for squash casserole. I admit that I had never made it before, but I was  not going to disappoint her, so I called up the only woman who has ever gotten me to eat squash and enjoy it--my mom.

Her sqaush casserole is so good. It reminds me a bit of cornbread dressing. She uses cornbread in it and bacon pieces. Add in cheese and oh yeah---golden squash heaven.

My mom moved too fast for me to take step by step photos telling me "I'm cooking for my grandbabies, not for your camera". I had to laugh. In this house, we eat what is cooked and photographed for this blog. Nothing gets posted that we do not eat. That means I usually end up photographing my actual plate and if not my own, I better move pretty darn fast if I want to take a photo, because they simply will not wait and they don't want to eat cold food. Ha! They make me work fast for a photo.

Southern Squash Casserole

You will need:
4 cups cooked and crumbled cornbread
7 Yellow Squash
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
2 tsp melted butter/margarine
1 or 1/2 cup of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper

Rinse your squash and begin cutting into 1/2 inch slices. Discard the ends.  In a pot filled with water, bring to a boil, once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for ten to fifteen more minutes.  This helps tenderize the squash. Drain the water.

In large bowl, add in all your ingredients except the squash, broth and egg. Add in your salt and pepper 1 tsp at a time, tasting to get it to your liking.  Add in the broth slowly until the mixture is of a creamy consistency. You may not use all of it. You want it creamy, not soupey.  Add in your egg and mix well. Then add in your squash. Pour into two round cake pans or one 11x7 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until top is slightly crusted and golden brown.

Repost while I work on some amazing things to share! This sandwich is perfect for Super Bowl parties!

I love making sandwiches. With a family consisting of four children, it is quick, simple and the kids love them. Being that I love sandwiches, I am always trying different combinations so it does not get boring. Peanut butter and jelly is so good but this Italian Stallion meatball sub with tons of meat and marinara sauce is soooo much better.

Sometimes making the perfect sandwich is just throwing everything but the kitchen sink onto that bad boy. The possibilities literally are endless when it comes to making them, only your taste buds and creativity is the limit!

For this sandwich you will need:
Bread (of course or you can even try it in a lettuce wrap or tortilla)
Marinara Sauce
Canadian Bacon
Fresh Mozzarella

I did not get my camera out in time but for my meatballs, I mixed in sauteed sundried tomatoes that I diced, chopped fresh parsley and italian seasoning with a bit of Creole seasoning. I mixed well and formed into balls.

I cooked my meatballs on low/meduim while covered in a skillet until done.

Now you just assemble your sandwich. Start by spreading marinara on the brea, then layering the salami, canadian bacon and then slices of pepperoni. Add your meatballs, top with sauce and then slices of mozzarella. Place sandwich open in oven on broil until cheese melts into some seriously ooey gooey goodness.

Remove and serve hot and toasty. Kinda messy but seriously tastes like a pizza! It would have been even better topped with sauteed mushrooms and some sliced black olives. Oh yes, please!

Also, Go Gluten Free hits newsstands throughout the US next week! You will find two of my recipes in it. So thankful and excited about it!

It is so cold here. Not New York or Chicago kind of cold but for us Southerners, it is freezing. 34 degrees and it felt like a chili kinda dinner night. This recipe is super easy, as it calls for seasoning packets and canned beans. Usually, I have dried beans on hand, but when you are in a hurry, canned and packets are great.

This surely hit the spot for us and the chipotles added a nice flavor. A quick and super warm dinner. Yes.

You will need:

2 lbs ground beef
3 chili seasoning packets
3 cans of diced tomatoes and chiles
3 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can chipotles (chopped)
2 cans of black beans
2 cans of red kidney beans

Garnish: Sour cream, cheese, fresh jalapenos, cilantro

Brown your ground beef with one packet of the chili seasoning. Once cooked, drain the grease and add in another packet of seasoning. Add in your tomatoes and stir. Transfer to a large pot on meduim heat. Add in your beans. When it begins to bubble, lower your heat to low and continue to cook for an hour or more.

This makes a large pot. You can cut in half for a smaller crowd. This feeds 6 people.

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