I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before, but we’ve been incorporating more beans into our menu plans. I just can’t get enough of them. I’ve wanted to try the lovely Elly’s recipe forever now, as anyone who has ever made them raves and raves. After finally getting around to making them, I can see why. Creamy and delicious, with a huge punch of flavor from the seasonings. And, the kicker? They only took 20 minutes! You’d swear they’d been cooking all day…

I thought about doubling the recipe, but it was just enough for all of us to have with supper as well as a couple spoonfuls for another plate of leftovers. Next time I probably will, as I would like to enjoy them on top of some rice for a lunch or two during the week. It’s the perfect side dish for any Tex-Mex that comes out of your kitchen. I’d been in kind of a rut with Spanish rice, but it’s nice to have something new to switch things up with. Will definitely be making this one again and again. World famous, indeed!

I’ve had these potatoes bookmarked to try for-ever. A new way to prepare potatoes is always welcome in my repertoire! I kept on putting it off, because surely they had to be a pain to make – right? Wrong. It took only a few minutes to get them prepped and into the oven. So glad I finally got around to trying them! They were delicious. Nice and crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.

I’m looking forward to switching up the flavor combinations. I think they’d be wonderful with a cajun spice mix, or a bunch of fresh chopped dill in the olive oil. Or even plain, then topped with the classic sour cream and chopped scallions. Yum! These will definitely be gracing our table every now and again, as everyone loved them, and they really are a little more special than your standard roasted potato. Perfect for Christmas dinner t0 go with that gorgeous “roast beast”!

Also, thanks to all who entered the giveaway. The winner was Ellen, with comment #10 – “I love using canned tomatoes to make homemade black bean and corn salsa. It is always a hit!”

Hope everyone is making merry and finishing up things for the Holidays. I’m so looking forward to Christmas morning with my boys! This is the first year our oldest has really been “into it”, we’ve been having the best time with him this year. Happy Holidays everyone!

Sesame noodles are one of my very favorite things in this world. They’re great on their own for lunch, or you can toss it with any number of meats or veggies to make a more substantial meal. I’ve always loved the pre-packaged sesame noodles that I could buy in the deli of a local grocery chain. But, as with most things, I knew a homemade version had to be much better.

For December, its been unseasonably warm here in Maryland. In all honesty, I’m ready for that cold snap – but it hasn’t come yet. It feels so odd to be hunting for our Christmas tree in 65 degree weather! I normally wouldn’t be hungry for a cold pasta dish in December. But, last week I had about a half pound of pasta leftover from a meal – so I halved the recipe and took some pictures. They made a delightful side dish for a roasted pork loin that I made later in the week.

I like to add a smidgen of peanut butter, for a Thai twist. Also, some Sriracha for a little kick of heat. I used a thicker pasta noodle for this batch, but usually use a thin spaghetti. I usually like to add a bit of diced roasted red pepper as well, but I didn’t have any handy. No matter, it’s still perfect. A great dish to enjoy for lunch throughout the week!

I think potatoes have kind of gotten a bad rap. And, that makes me sad. Yes, while they are wonderful deep fried – they can be great when done with a more healthful approach as well. I’ve been making baked oven fries for as long as I can remember being active in the kitchen. They’re so simple, and make the perfect side to so many meals. You can be simple with the seasonings – going for just salt and pepper. Or, spice it up! I love adding oregano, Herbes de Provence, or Montreal Steak seasoning to switch things up a bit.

The key to the awesomeness of these fries, the uber-crispiness, is a result of a soak in the hot saltwater. The undisputed best place in the world for Boardwalk fries is Thrashers, in nearby Ocean City, MD. They do a soak in salt water, which I always knew was the key to their greatness. They also don’t serve ketchup, which most people might find kind of odd. Salt and vinegar only! Anyways, the original recipe calls for regular hot water. Which, is fine too. But, if you’re a sodium hound like I am, add a little salt to the water as well. Either way, make sure the water is good and hot. I’m no AB, but, I think the hot water starts to break down the starches or something. Helping the fries along in their quest for crispiness. I promise you’ll make these again and again!