As a girl who used to turn her nose up at Mexican food, I’m a million miles away from where I started. One of my very favorite things to order at a Mexican restaurant is chile rellenos. A pepper that’s been stuffed with potato and cheese, then fried? Sign me up. Now that summer is upon us, and in another month or so I’ll be picking a basket full of poblano peppers every couple of days, I figured it was only prudent to buckle down and come up with my ideal relleno recipe.

A big misconception is that chile rellenos are super spicy. Not the case, so don’t let the word “chile” scare you off. We don’t mind a little heat, but if you’d like them even milder – just remove all of the seeds from inside the pepper before filling. I fried this batch to keep it authentic, but often I skip the batter entirely and just stick the stuffed peppers under the broiler for a few minutes. Shaves some time and calories, which is always a good thing! When paired with some Spanish rice, these make a delicious and satisfying summer meal. Enjoy!

I’m so glad that I made these to share with you guys, because I had forgotten how much I loved them. I first had them back in my order-out almost every night days of my youth. I would always get a veggie wrap from a local waterfront restaurant on Chincoteague, and if I was lucky, these crispy potato rounds came alongside. That “luck” pretty much coincided with the fact that they had leftover baked potatoes from the night before.They eventually took the veggie wrap off the menu, and I started making my own spicy potato rounds.

Now, I don’t usually have extra baked potatoes hanging out, but it’s worth it to bake a few in advance to make these. I’ve also successfully done a quick cook on the potatoes by microwaving them for a few minutes, then letting cool for about 20 minutes before slicing and frying. They’re absolutely delicious, a cross between a potato chip and a french fry. And, I love the spicy kick that the Cajun seasoning adds! Make sure you add it as soon as it comes out of the oil, adheres to the potato much better while they are still hot. These make a simple sandwich for dinner a little more special. Enjoy!

I don’t watch a lot of “trash” TV, but I will admit that “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” (and various other sundry cities) is a guilty pleasure of mine. The new season started last night, so to mark the occasion, I made a dish from Teresa Giudice’s second book, Fabulicious. She’s full of herself, talks a lot of smack, and is completely wonky – but hey, what woman on those series of shows honestly isn’t? Surprisingly, the recipes that I’ve tried from her book have been good. A super quick marinara, which I’ve made a couple of times, and will be sharing later this week. And, these stuffed artichokes – which were absolutely delicious. A perfect side dish or light main course for the summer months!

Last weekend I went to see Titanic in 3D with an old friend, the very same friend I saw it with 6 times in the theater. I had to drive 3 hours to get to an IMAX theater (go big or go home – right?), so I took the opportunity to stop by Trader Joe’s on the way home to stock up on pantry staples. Artichokes are in season right now, so I picked up 4 and brought them home. I also picked up one of their artisan red wine salamis – they are so good diced up and topping a Greek salad, or in a pasta salad. Or, in stuffed artichokes.

I followed the recipe, up until the point of cooking method. I decided to bake them, as opposed to cooking them in a dutch oven on the stove top. Some other recipes called for parboiling the artichokes first, but I didn’t bother with that. Just let them bake a little longer. The sauce that forms in the bottom of the baking dish was absolutely delicious. Perfect to scoop up with the artichoke leaves you pull off to eat one by one. Will definitely be making these again, everyone really enjoyed them!

Grilled bok choy is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes. I usually cook it when we’re putting something on the grill anyways – steak, chicken, kabobs.  Often I’ll just keep the seasoning simple – olive oil, salt, and pepper. But, whenever I want something a little more special,  I made a wonderful spicy Asian vinaigrette to go on top before grilling.

Some people steer clear of bok choy because it falls under the cabbage category. If you think you don’t like cabbage, give this recipe a try. I too, was a “cabbage hater”, but bok choy really brought me around. It’s a very mild flavor, so it’s a great place to start. Feel free to play around with the flavorings in the vinaigrette too. I like the flavors that the soy sauce and Sriracha lend, but just most things in the kitchen, the possibilities are endless! I like to use  baby bok choy if I can find it, because it cooks so quickly and is tender. Large heads of bok choy will work as well, but you should quarter them before grilling.