21 May 2015

Memorial Day Easy Recipe Travels Well: Beef Taco Pasta Casserole

Advocate file photo  --  Taco Pasta Casserole is an econical, easy-to-make dish everyone will like.

From Denny:  Looking for a new family favorite that doesn't break the bank or take forever to make?  It's a simple, straight forward main dish that can travel well to family reunions, potluck dinners, picnics and Memorial Day or Labor Day and summer outings with friends and family when a dish is requested to bring to the event.  It's an easy dish for Saturday night casual or a busy week night when the family is going in twenty different directions as you can scoop up a serving and reheat it in the microwave with ease.

This recipe calls for browning the beef in butter or olive oil.  I always clarify my butter, even letting it brown a bit to give it a nutty flavor (then straining off the crispy milk solids) so awesome for casserole dishes like this that bake with cheese.  As far as spices go, I'd add some extra cumin, smokey paprika and garlic powder.  Some fresh chopped cilantro would be awesome too!  

If you wanted to try a twist on the salsa you could try using the organic marinara sauce under the Trader Joe's brand we love at our house - one of the few sauces out of a jar that actually tastes terrific, without any sugar added is a bonus!

As to cheese, I'd add another cup of a good melting cheese like a Mexican fresh farmer's cheese or a mozzarella, whatever you enjoy.  This is an easy casserole that can take on the personality of your favorite tastes so experiment and tailor it to your family's taste.

Serve this easy casserole with a large green salad or some grilled veggies like zucchini sliced long to show off those well-earned grill marks.  This casserole freezes well and reheats just fine in the microwave.  Except for the ground beef and the cheddar cheese the rest of the recipe comes out of your pantry.  This casserole is one of those easy recipes when you are too tired to make something more complicated.  What more could you ask for anyway?

This is Memorial Day weekend so stay safe on the roads!  And please remember America's fallen of many wars past, saying a prayer for their families.

Military Sacrifice Mug

"No sacrifice is ever left behind or forgotten." - denny lyon
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Why Get Involved Padfolio

Get Involved: if you don't have a seat at the table you are probably on the menu - Senator Elizabeth Warren
Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @ CafePress.com  -  see what's new!  

02 February 2015

Beautiful Illustrated Quotations: 3 Joy Quotes: How Does Practicing JOY Bring Order and Harmony Into Your Life? Also, Joy Contagious Lip-Syncing Cop Viral Video

From Denny:  Now if everyone in politics and every CEO in Big Business would read this, think how much people would quit hating their jobs, their bosses and their politicians!

Joyful X 2 Bathmat
Joyful X 2 Bathmat

Beautiful Illustrated Quotations: 3 Joy Quotes: How Does Practicing JOY Bring Order and Harmony Into Your Life? Also, Joy Contagious Lip-Syncing Cop Viral Video: From Denny:  Have you ever noticed that when you are filled with Joy that your whole world is suddenly harmonious and everything just falls into place?  Joy is contagious too.  When you feel good, everyone around you feels good too!

While not everyone is called to enter into the decades long rigorous training to become a mystic for the benefit of humanity, a lot can be learned and practiced in everyday life to better enjoy life's journey.  Practicing Joy is practicing healthy spirituality, regardless of religion or no specific religious preferences at all.

Joy is a central principle for the human spirit.  Joy sustains us through life's sorrows   and disappointments.  Joy acts as a counter balance while climbing out of depression or grief, dealing with past trauma and the ensuing PTSD, keeping us from sinking down further into negative emotions and thoughts.  Joy is important to safeguard not just our mental, emotional and spiritual health but it has a direct positive benefit upon our physical health too.

Adults often develop habits that steer away from Joy.  Babies laugh hundreds of times a day.  How much have you laughed out loud today?  How much have you laughed in the past month?  Do you find your world crumbling around you, feeling out of sorts and grumpy, thinking limiting thoughts, focused upon how little is going your way? ... read more

Joyful X 2 Padfolio

Inspire: Keep your Joy up and flowing to attract order and harmony into your life all year long!  
Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @ CafePress.com - see what's new!  Thank you to those who are supporting this effort.  You rock!  

Proceeds go to Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank (Louisiana) and to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital for all the awesome help they have given to the children of the Gulf Coast.  

Developing this online gift store is one of the ways of how I keep my Joy up, focusing upon creativity that creates proceeds for charities doing great work.

*** Joyful x 2 design found in the Denny Lyon Gifts store @ Cafe Press in these sections:  beddingstationery and inspiration (plenty of style choices for women, men, baby and kid's t-shirts and hoodies.)

25 December 2014

Dennys World of Quotes: Christmas: Funny and Thoughtful Christmas Quotes and Short Poems

Dennys World of Quotes: Christmas: Funny and Thoughtful Christmas Quotes and Short Poems: From Denny:  Well, now that we have finished Christmas breakfast at our house it's time to roll out these fun Christmas quotes and Christmas poems for you and yours to enjoy!

Oh, how rude of me not to give you the Christmas breakfast menu:  a Dutch Baby Oven Pancake with spiced cooked apples and a side of Honeysuckle Italian style ground Turkey made into a sausage which I spiced up extra with some seasoned brown rice, smokey paprika, garlic and extra virgin olive oil before shaping into small patties and cooking on the stovetop.  Yeah, it's a tough day at our house all right. :)

And, yes, I made the roast turkey yesterday since we like to celebrate Christmas Eve as well so that pressure is non-existent.  Made a wonderful wet rub for the turkey that sat a day uncovered in the fridge to marinate:  rubbed under the skin and on top with a mixture of red moscato wine, extra virgin oil, and lovely spices and herbs like marjoram, rosemary, sage, ginger, sea salt, black pepper, smokey paprika, garlic powder, a touch of lite soy sauce and more.  Blanched the green beans earlier in the week so all that needs to be done today is to heat them up in clarified butter and some spices as a side dish.  All the cooking left is to bake the Louisiana sweet potatoes which are a divine dish in themselves they are so sweet! .... Click on the title link above to view the funny quotes at my quotes blog...

For plenty of holiday recipes and recipes for the entire year you can check out my four food blogs where I collect the best of our local cooks, my own recipes and variations, as well as the news and food networks:

Joyful X 2 Rectangular Canvas Pillow

Inspire: Keep your Joy up and flowing to attract order and harmony into your life all year long!  Available in t-shirts for men, women, kids and baby along with bedding, pillows, dining, entertaining and technology like for your latest phone case!  Phone cases listed here.

Oh, and the ads are for my Cafe Press store, Denny Lyon Gifts, where the proceeds go to the local food bank, Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank - and to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

16 November 2014

Holiday Recipe: Easy Caramel Pumpkin Cake

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD  --  Caramel Pumpkin Cake is an easy dessert perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
2TheAdvocate photo: Catherine Threlkeld 

From Denny:  Want a simple dessert that simplifies your life while cooking the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner?  Even if family and friends help bring their favorite dishes to contribute to the holiday feast it's always a good idea to have a dessert that is simple to put together and cooks itself while you are distracted by other preparations, waiting to go on stage and show off. :)  

This cake is full of melted caramel candy and Heath toffee brickle bits complementing the autumnal pumpkin flavor.  This dessert texture is a moist pudding cake that friends well with a happy dollop of freshly whipped heavy cream or whipped topping or just a sprinkle of the toffee brickle bits - you decide.  

When I serve desserts like this I offer my guests their choice of toppings as they enjoy getting involved.  Holidays are often when I try out new recipes.  Since I value their opinions my guests enjoy morphing into the all important taste tasters to evaluate the recipes, determining if  the new ideas survive to see another holiday gathering.  It's all great fun and gets everyone involved to express their likes and dislikes, helping to perfect a recipe.  Sometimes, all a recipe needs is a better way to serve it, like a good topping.

This little pudding cake dessert gem cooks in a slow cooker on High for two hours, giving you plenty of time to serve the dinner before the crowd starts breaking into the table of desserts.  This dessert is assembled at the last minute into individual dessert dishes so you can serve as little or as much as your guest prefers.  Besides, this dessert cake gives you a chance to use those tiny custard or individual flan dishes some older relative gave you but you just didn't know what to do with them.  Enjoy!...

Santa Diva Cat Round Ornament

Get a laugh and make sure your family kitty has her own Christmas ornament to grace the tree with her awesome presence! Check out Diva Cat adorned with her Santa hat just in time for the season.  Design also available: in other styles of ornaments, phone cases, makeup mirrors and greeting cards!  Santa Diva Cat sports her divine image: on plenty of mugs, teapots, cocktail plates and platters.

Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @ CafePress.com  -  see what's new!  

15 November 2014

Holiday Recipe: Appetizer Crabmeat Cheesecake With Gruyere and Mascarpone

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Gourmet Galley, crabmeat cheesecake
2TheAdvocate photo: HEATHER MCCLELLAND 

From Denny:  This easy recipe is a big hit during the holidays or any big gathering!  Crabmeat is expensive, especially fresh.  What is great about this recipe is that a mere one pound of fresh crabmeat can feed a crowd because this rich recipe is set up as an appetizer.  

Fresh crabmeat is always the most tasty but if all you can procure is frozen then go ahead and use it.  Just know that if you use frozen crabmeat it may get a bit watery on the top of the cheesecake near the end of the baking time.  So, if that should happen then just pour off any of the clear liquid that might form.  

If you happen to have any leftover crabmeat cheesecake you can warm it the next day, serving a small piece with a large green salad on the side!  Bon Appetit!

Santa Music Earring Circle Charm

Santa Music Earring Circle Charm

Santa loves the music of the season!

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