Coco’s Homemade Italian pasta salad (Saturday weekly recipe post)


  •              Coco’s Homemade Italian pasta salad 
  • cocos pasta salad

    The Stuff you Need:

    The dressing:

    • 1 & 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 & 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 c ground parmesan cheese
    • few splashes worcestershire sauce
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
    • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
    • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
    • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoon white sugar

    The Rest of the Stuff :

    • 32 oz cooked Penne pasta
    • 3-4 large jars marinated artichoke hearts (undrained)
    • 3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
    • 40 + cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 large sliced red bell pepper
    • 1 large sliced green bell pepper
    • 1 large sliced yellow bell pepper
    • 2 bunches chopped green onions
    • 2 (10-14oz) cans whole black olives, pitted
    • 3 cups sliced salami cut into strips
    • 3 cups sliced pepperoni cut into strips
    • 3 cups mozzarella cheese cubes 

    What to do with the Stuff: 

    • In a large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients
    • Add cooked pasta, artichoke hearts (with liquid), mushrooms, tomatoes, all the peppers, and cheeses, green onions, olives, salami, and pepperoni.
    • Toss until evenly coated
    • Cover, and chill at least 4 hours, or overnight

    Serves 20 –  as an awesome side dish


Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast with Panko/Parmesan crust ( Wednesday weekly post)

Stuffed Chicken Breasts (with spinach, mushroom, cheese, with a panko, parmesan crust)


Stuff you need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 slices ham (1 for each chicken breast)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ onion diced
  • ¼ cup mushrooms diced
  • ½ pkg chopped frozen spinach, thawed & drained well
  • sprinkles of curry powder, complete season, (or season salt of your choice) and chili lime (or lemon) pepper to taste (add to stuffing mixture)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (omit for dairy-free)
  • 1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese (omit for dairy-free)
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (omit for dairy-free)
  • 1 TBS teaspoon Italian herb blend seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

What to do with the stuff:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  • Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and set aside
  • Place individual chicken breasts in between sheets of saran wrap
  • Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten/pound each chicken breast to about ¼ inch thickness
  • Lay a slice of ham on top of each chicken breast
  • Saute` garlic, onions, mushrooms, and spinach until soft, add curry and seasoning salt, and chili lime pepper to taste
  • Remove from heat, add to a bowl with cream cheese, and pepper jack cheese
  • Spread 2-3 TBS (or so) of mixture onto each ham slice on the chicken breast
  • Carefully roll up the chicken breast (secure with toothpicks if you need to)
  • Beat eggs in a pie plate or shallow dish
  • In a medium bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper
  • Dip each chicken breast in the eggs, then into the panko parmesan mixture
  • Make sure the breasts are well coated
  • Place chicken on the prepared baking sheet seam side down
  • Bake 40-45 minutes or until chicken is done, and crust is slightly brown


Chili Verde con Pollo (Chicken Chili Verde) slow cooker – Saturday Weekly recipe post

Chili Verde con Pollo (Chicken Chili Verde)

chili verde con pollo

The stuff you will need :

  • 2 lbs tomatillos husked, cut in half
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 medium Poblano (or Anaheim) peppers
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (wear gloves)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBS chili powder with lime
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (whole)
  • Serve with Fresh Tortillas, or over roasted potatoes or Mexican rice

What to do with the stuff :

  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Place tomatillos and Poblanos on lightly greased baking sheets
  • Roast respectively at separate times, (the tomatillos take less time) do them first
  • Roast until tomatillos are golden brown approx 8-10 min
  • Roast until peppers are charred being sure to turn once so they are fully roasted all around  (approx 12-15 min)
  • Place peppers in a glass bowl, seal with saran wrap until cooled (about 20-30 min)
  • When cooled, peel the peppers, removing stem and seeds (save these for making a great veggie stock) and dice
  • In a food processor, (or blender) combine about 1/2 of the roasted peppers, all the tomatillos, jalapeños, onion, garlic, 3/4 of the chopped cilantro, cilantro, cumin, paprika, chili powder, 1/2 of the tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth
  • Combine the blended mixture, chicken broth, remaining diced Poblano peppers, remaining tomatoes, remaining cilantro, and chicken into the crock pot
  • Add salt,pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
  • Cook on high, for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours
  • Take chicken breasts out, and shred the meat, add back to crock pot stir through.
  • Serve warm with tortillas, over roasted potatoes, or Mexican rice

Roasted Poblanos stuffed with Shrimp & Cheese (Wednesday weekly recipe post)

Stuffed Poblano Peppers (with Shrimp)

Shrimp stuffed poblanos

You can fill these beautiful, dark green beauties with whatever your creative culinary mind visualizes. Some people don’t like shrimp, so you can simply substitute chicken, beef, pork, or even sausage. Also, some like to wrap or top it off with bacon, it is entirely up to you. This recipe is one of my husband’s favorites.

For the vegetarian version, you can use rice, or cous-cous, and/or other variations of roasted veggies they culinary creative world is truly your oyster..;-)

The Stuff you need to make it:

  • 6 medium Poblano peppers
  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted (the best! and too easy) (or a 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained)
  • 1 (14-oz can) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1- 3 jalapeno pepper(s), seeded & chopped wear gloves 1 for mild, 2 for med 3 for uber hot, totally up to your taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  •  Few squirts or Srihacha hot sauce (to taste)
  • 1  C. shredded monterey jack cheese ( I use pepper jack for more spice)
  • ½ C. queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese), crumbled (for garnish)
  • ½ C. cilantro leaves (for garnish)

What to do with all the Stuff:

  • Roast the red peppers
  • Place the red bell peppers on a baking sheet, lined with foil
  • Place under broiler, charring skins, turning to evenly roast (8-10 min)
  • Remove from oven transfer the peppers to a bowl
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely
  • Once cooled, transfer the peppers to a cutting board
  • Remove the stems and seeds (save in a ziplock for future veggie stock)
  • Using the blade of your knife, scrape off the charred skin
  • In a food processor (or blender) combine roasted red peppers, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin
  • Purée until completely smooth, set aside and reserve for later
  • Char the poblano peppers directly over an open flame on your stove.
  • If you don’t have a gas stove or grill, then roast peppers under the broile like the red peppers
  • When poblanos are charred all around, transfer to a plate allow to cool completely, UNcovered
  • When they are cooled, carefully remove the skin by scraping the outside with the blade of your knife WEAR GLOVES!
  • Remove the seeds from the poblano peppers, keeping the stems intact
  •  Make a slit down the middle, scoop out the seeds WEAR GLOVES!
  • Set peppers aside
  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat drizzle in the olive oil
  • Add the chopped onions, garlic and jalapeños
  • Sauté until the veggies are soft
  • Season with salt, pepper and ground coriander
  • Add the shrimp and stir
  • Cook until the shrimp just turn pink, and are not opaque.(Don’t overcook )
  • Remove pan from heat, cool slightly
  • In a large bowl combine the softened cream cheese, monterey jack cheese, srihacha, and shrimp mixture
  • Stir until smooth and well combined
  • Stuff the peppers with the cheese-shrimp mixture, dividing the filling evenly between the six poblanos
  • Spoon the sauce onto the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Place the stuffed peppers on top of the sauce
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes
  • The cheese should be bubbly, and the tops golden brown
  • Garnish with crumbled queso fresco, and fresh cilantro

I am currently cooking for 2, but have no problem making more, so we have delish leftovers 😉

Meat stuffed Potatoes – 2 different meals (Saturday weekly recipe post)

Meat stuffed Potatoes


Makes 6 half potatoes

The Stuff you need:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 medium mushrooms diced
  • 4-6 cloves
  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot shredded and chopped
  • can of peas
  • salt and pepper
  • splash worcesterschire
  • insides of baked potatoes
  • 2 TB butter, softened (may substitute veggie stock, or oil)

What to do with the Stuff:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • With a fork, pierce a few times on both sides
  • Rub each potato with olive oil, lightly salt entire potato
  • Place potatoes in oven on middle rack
  • Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender, turn potatoes over ½ way through baking
  • Baking them this way ensures that the skins are crispy, so they won’t tear when stuffed
  • After potatoes are done remove from oven, set aside to cool
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees
  • In a large skillet, brown ground beef, garlic, carrots and chopped onion on medium heat, breaking ground beef apart into small chunks
  • Add mushrooms, and peas to cooked ground beef, salt and pepper & worcesterschire to the mixture
  • Cook mixture until mushrooms are tender
  • While the ground beef mixture simmers, slice each potato lengthwise
  • If possible, try to cut the potatoes so that each half has a flat side so they won’t tip over when stuffed.
  • Carefully spoon out the white of the potatoes and place in a mixing bowl
  • Don’t scrape out all of the white, leave a little so that the skins aren’t flimsy
  • Place the skins in a 9.5 x 13.5-inch baking pan and set aside
  • Add the butter to the potatoes and “mash” with fork should be kind of chunky as opposed to smooth
  • Add your potato mixture into the ground beef skillet
  • Fill each potato skin to the rim with the ground beef mixture
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes

Serve with a side steamed veggie of your choice.
For the BEST leftovers,  have an awesome breakfast the next day by heating and putting an over medium egg (or 2) on top of heated potato

Awesome Spinach Cheese Enchiladas ( Wednesday Weekly recipe post)

Awesome Spinach Cheese Enchiladas

PicMonkey Collage

The Stuff you will need:

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach , thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 C cream cheese whipped
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese combined with
  • 1 C shredded Cheddar or Pepper jack
  • 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 + C home-made enchilada sauce (recipe on; the
  • 1/2 C sliced green onions ( garnish)
What to do with the Stuff:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add garlic and onion; cook for a few minutes until fragrant
  • Stir in spinach, saute for5-7 min
  • Remove from the heat
  • Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, and 1 cup of shredded cheese blend, set aside
  • Dip tortillas in enchilada sauce, and heat In a skillet over medium heat
  • One at a time until flexible, about 10-15 seconds each side
  • Spoon a bit of enchilada sauce on bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach cheese mixture onto the center of each tortilla
  • Roll up, and place seam side down in baking dish
  • Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese mixture.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce is bubbling, and cheese is lightly browned at the edges.
  • Top with chopped green onions
  • Serve with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream as condiments

Quick, Easy, Home-made Enchilada sauce

Easy, Home-Made Enchilada Sauce

enchilada sauce

Stuff you will need for 2 cups of homemade sauce:

  • 1/4 C butter
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 3 TBS chili powder
  • 1 C  tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1+ C veggie stock (or water)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

What to do with the stuff :

  • Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat
  • Stir flour, garlic, and chili powder
  • Stir until smooth
  • Stir in tomato sauce
  • Add veggie stock, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cayenne
  • Reduce heat to low, cook until thickened, about 10-12 minutes.


-MY own, amazing Meatloaf- “comfort food city”… (Saturday- weekly recipe post)

-MY own, amazing Meatloaf-



The Stuff you’ll Need 😉

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (spicy if you want)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large stalks chopped celery
  • 1 large carrot shredded and diced finely
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 &1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs (optional)
What to do with the Stuff 😉
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
  • Saute onion, green pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic in olive oil until soft
  • Combine salt, pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire, dry mustard and eggs in a blender, puree until smooth
  • Mix ground beef & sausage in a large bowl
  • Add sauteed veggies
  • Add mozzarella cheese
  • Add egg mixture
  • Add panko crumbs-optional
  • Mix to combine
  • Transfer beef mixture to a shallow baking dish and shape into a loaf
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let meatloaf to rest uncovered for 15 minutes
  • Slice and serve

“Huevos en y canasta” – (Eggs in a basket) – Wednesday weekly recipe post ;-)

Huevos en y canasta-  “Eggs in a basket”

huevos en y canasta

Stuff you need:

olive oil to grease muffin tins
6 slices multi grain, or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
cheddar/jack/pepper jack shredded cheese- (optional)

What to do with the stuff

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly butter 6 standard muffin tins
Flatten bread slices slightly, and cut into 6 large rounds
Press 1 piece, into each muffin cup- overlapping slightly, making sure bread comes up to edge of cup
Cook bacon until almost crisp, cut in half ( Note: It will continue to cook in the oven)
Lay 2 1/2  pieces of bacon into each bread cup
Sprinkle shredded cheese of choice (optional)
Crack an egg into each muffin cup
Season with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes
Bake until egg whites are just set, 12- 20 minutes
12 minutes is partial runny yolk- 20 minutes is a fully cooked yolk
Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts
Serve immediately 😉

Spicy “Jambalaya-like” Pasta ( weekly Wednesday Recipe post)

Spicy “Jambalaya-like” Pasta


Stuff you Need:

  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 TBS “Cajun spice mix” (salt, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne & black pepper)
  • 1 lb skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 lb fresh large shrimp, peeled and de veined
  • 1 lb linguine or fettucini
  • 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C white wine
  • 1 sm green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 sm red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 sm yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 med onion, diced
  •  3/4 C  diced tomatoes

What to do with the Stuff:

  • Heat olive oil in skillet
  • Add garlic, and Cajun spice mix
  • Add chicken, cook until the chicken is browned on all sides ( 5- 8 min)
  • Cook pasta to al dente’ in salted, boiling water
  • Add chicken broth, and wine to the pan (with chicken)
  • Add sliced peppers and diced onions
  • Saute for approx 3-4 min, until vegetables are cooked, and chicken is almost done
  • Add the tomatoes and continue to cook mixture
  • Add the shrimp into the pan, cook until the shrimp and chicken are thoroughly cooked
  • Add the pasta, and toss together
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro