Texas Grills Tillamook Cheese

In celebration of Tillamook Cheese coming to Texas, let me introduced the Texas Grilled Cheese sandwich featuring plenty of medium and sharp cheddar on fresh, extra large sizes Texas Toast.

Texas Grilled Cheese
Texas-sized Comfort Food

2 Tablespoons Tillamook salted butter
4 slices Tillamook Medium Cheddar
4 slices Tillamook Sharp Cheddar
1 cup Steak-umm Sliced Steaks
8 slices Texas Toast (thick sliced—42oz loaf)
2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons green or red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons tomatoes, chopped

Combine onion, bell pepper and tomato. Set aside.

Lightly butter one side of each bread and place butter side down on medium heated pan or flat grill. Place one slice of Medium Cheddar on the untoasted side of 4 slices of bread. Spread 2 Tablespoons of the shredded beef and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the onion mixture over each slice of cheese.

Top each sandwich with a slice of Sharp Cheddar and a slice of bread, toasted side down. Let the cheese melt on the bread while checking the underside so as not to burn. Lower heat if necessary. Place the sides together when they have reached desired melted consistency. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Wookiee Cookies

Wookiee Cookies
Hairy Sweet Treats


  •   1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  •    1/3 cup sugar
  •    2 T all purpose flour
  •    1/8 t salt
  •    2 egg whites
  •    1/2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla: mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto greased baking cookie sheets.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Pot of S’mores

Pot of S’mores
Sweet Grillin’ Treat


  • 1 package (14-1/2 ounces) whole graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Prepare grill or campfire for low heat, using 16-18 charcoal briquettes or large wood chips. Line a Dutch oven with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Combine cracker crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of the pan. Pour milk over crust and sprinkle with chocolate and butterscotch chips. Top with marshmallows.

Cover Dutch oven. When briquettes or wood chips are covered with white ash, place Dutch oven directly on top of six of them. Using long-handled tongs, place remaining briquettes on pan cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until chips are melted. To check for doneness, use the tongs to carefully lift the cover.

Holiday Crunch Time

Raise your hand if you have indulged this holiday! Now, it is the time when we start making resolutions on eating more healthy. There’s no better way to celebrate the New Year than with delicious and nutritious foods. Holiday Crunch Time is an easy-to-make recipe that brings together a wholesome mix of walnuts, cranberries, and dark chocolate for a simple twist on an everyday trail mix.

Holiday Crunch Time


  • 2 1/2 cups of raw walnut halves or pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate morsels

Combine walnuts, cranberries and chocolate in a large bowl. Mix and serve. Makes 6 cups.

Enjoy this healthy snack while watching the Dallas Mavericks play, cheering for your team play at a Bowl game or entertaining friends for a game night!

Reindeer Cookies

Reindeer Cookies
Christmas Sweet Treat


  • 1 (16.5-oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 36 pretzel twists
  • 36 semisweet chocolate mini morsels
  • 18 red cinnamon candies or red M&Ms

Freeze dough 15 minutes. Roll dough to a 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut dough with a 3-inch round cutter, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using thumb and forefinger, pinch opposite sides of each slice about two-thirds of the way down to shape face.

Break curved sides away from center of each pretzel twist to form antlers. Press bottom of 1 set of antlers on each side at top of each reindeer face.

Bake at 350° according to package directions or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; press in 2 chocolate mini morsels for eyes and 1 red cinnamon candy for nose. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool 20 minutes or until completely cool.

Pumpkin Enchiladas

Pumpkin Enchiladas
Leftover Pumpkin Puree


  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • 8-12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Queso Fresco, crumbled

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion slices. Saute until brown and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the pan, stirring it to mix with the caramelized onions, then remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, cream, broth, pepper jack, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, salt and pepper. Spoon chicken mixture into the tortilla’s, rolling them tightly and placing in a medium-sized greased baking dish. Once all enchiladas have been rolled, spread the pumpkin sauce over the top. Sprinkle generously with Queso Fresco, then bake in an oven preheated to 425-degrees for 20-25 minutes, or just until the tips of the cheese begins to brown.

Modern Hospitality

I love to cook, and I’m always in search for a good cookbook to try new recipes. I was fortunate to have the chance to talk with MasterChef: Season 1 winner and author of Modern Hospitality cookbook, Whitney Miller. Inspired by her great grandmother, Whitney loved that food spoke to people. Her great grandmother would open her house and welcome others in and enjoy a southern dish. Unfortunately, Southern dishes have a bad reputation for being heavy in fat and unhealthy. Whitney has changes this perception and loves to use an abundance amount of vegetables. Her philosophy for vegetables and children is “Don’t try to hide them.” You just need to use creativity in incorporating them into your meal plan. I have included the Turnip Green Pesto below because my kids couldn’t eat enough of this “super green” vegetable.

Modern Hospitality has a lovely feminine, vintage feel and lots of beautiful photos. The recipes are Southern and, for the most part, simple. 
All of the recipes are true to Southern ingredients and flavor profiles but making them slightly healthier and more modern. She also takes some non-Southern dishes and uses ingredients indigenous to this region of the country to put her own spin on them such as Turnip Green Pesto.

Turnip Green Pesto


  • 11 turnip greens, ribs removed
  • 2 1/2 cup tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled 
  • salt and ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the turnip greens two at a time in he boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the leaves and drain on the paper town and pat dry. Stack the leaves on top of one another. Roll into a cigar and cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Place the turnip green strips in a food processor. Add the toasted walnuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Process until it begins to form a paste, about 2 minutes. With the processor running, drizzle oil and butter. Add the Parmesan and pulse 2 or 3 times. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl.

NOTE: Whitney Miller will be at Neiman Marcus Willow Bend in Plano tonight, September 8, for their Fashion Night Event starting at 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. to sign her cookbook and to answer any of your questions.  If you cannot make it tonight, she will be at Barnes & Noble at Preston & Royal in Dallas tomorrow, September 9, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

There is just no other way to describe California strawberries…well, basides the fact that they’re deliciously juicy, bursting with flavor, perfectly ripe and ready to enjoy as soon as you see them.

Did you know that 1 cup of strawberries has 160% Vitamin C, which is higher than oranges?! Another added benefit is that strawberries are also low in calories – just 50 per eight-strawberry serving.

During the summer time, there’s nothing more refreshing than strawberries in your drink, salad, parfait, salsa, etc. Here is one of the quick and easy recipes to get the most out of your California strawberries:

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in pieces
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
6 cups California strawberries, stemmed and divided
1 cup simple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar

Sift flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. With a fork, cut in butter to fine particles. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups cream. On a floured surface, knead dough lightly to form a ball. Pat into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. With 2-inch cutter, cut dough into 12 circles. Place on baking sheet; bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

In a saucepan, simmer 4 cups strawberries with simple syrup until jam-like consistency; cool. Slice remaining strawberries. Whip 3/4 cup cream with vanilla and 1 Tbsp sugar until soft peak form.

To serve, cut shortcakes in half. Place bottom on plate and top with cooked strawberries, whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Place top on shortcake; dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca
Worthy of a Special Occasion


  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 or more cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
  • 6-8 oz of chicken, cut in 1-inch strips
  • 1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 4 oz can black olives, chopped
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 8 oz angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup pre-shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm. Warm 3 TBSP oil with garlic in skillet over medium-high heat. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Add chicken to pan. Cook chicken 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Drain tomatoes and crush with fork or hands. Add to skillet, with some pepper. Stir occasionally, until tomatoes break down and mixture becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in olives, capers and red pepper flakes, and continue to simmer.

Arrange pasta on plates; top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Mac and Cheese

2 cups macaroni
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (I prefer a can of evaporated milk & 1/2 cup of milk)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally until it is almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Put half the macaroni into a buttered 2-quart casserole and top with half the cheese. Repeat. Pour the milk mixture over the macaroni and cheese.

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with paprika, remaining butter and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the macaroni and bake until brown and bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.