Nachos for Two

Contrary to what our friends might tell you, we don’t always cook a meal fit for an army. Sometimes, when it is just the two of us, we go the simple route and prepare a dish we can share without worrying about packing up leftovers. Besides, some meals, like our Nachos for Two, are best eaten immediately. So the next time you are craving something spicy, crunchy, cheesy and just downright delish, try our take on everyone’s favorite Mexican appetizer.  Read more of this post

Chili Cheese Coneys

Chili Cheese Coney

A quick and easy family favorite, our Chili Cheese Coneys dish up lots of flavor and are on the table in minutes.

Sometimes our friends and readers tell us that it seems like we never eat simple fare. We beg to differ! Here is one of our favorite dinners to make on a cold and hectic day. Whether you call them Coneys or Chili Dogs, it seems like nearly every community across America has its own recipe for this family favorite. We top juicy frankfurters with mustard, chili and a blend of cheeses for a quick and easy meal the whole crew will love.

PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 5 minutes


  • 8 best-quality hot dogs or frankfurters
  • 8 best-quality hot dog buns
  • Mustard
  • 1 recipe of Busy Day Chili
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Pickles (optional)


  1. Fill a sauce pan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil; reduce heat. Place hot dogs in water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F. Warm buns in oven until slightly golden; remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cheeses and set aside.
  4. Split open buns and drizzle with favorite mustard. Place one hot dog in each bun. Spread about 1/2 cup of chili over each hot dog and cover with cheese. Serve with pickles, if desired.

YIELDS: 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Busy Day Chili

Busy Day Chili

Craving a bowl of delicious chili but don't have hours to let it cook? Our Busy Day Chili is ready in less than thirty minutes and offers plenty of spicy flavor.

Growing up on the Texas border, I didn’t realize how vastly different chili recipes could be. But when I moved to Cincinnati, I discovered that every community has its own special variation on this slow-cooked favorite. In Ohio, most people spoon it on top of spaghetti. (I know, I know. My Texan friends are gasping as they read this!) One thing that many traditional recipes call for, however, is a minimum two-hour simmering time for the flavors to develop. But when you don’t have that kind of time available, our Busy Day Chili is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Dish it up with cheese, corn chips, oyster crackers or skillet cornbread to complete the dish.

PREP: 3 minutes
COOK: 25 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


  1. Cook ground beef and onion in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink.
  2. Add beans and remaining ingredients; cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

TIP: If the beef is lean enough, there’s no need to drain it after browning.

YIELDS: 5 cups

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks

Served as a side dish or as the main course, these hearty mushrooms are a healthy and filling alternative to beef steaks.

As spring turns into summer and temperatures continue to rise, sometimes you want a simple meal that is light and delicious. Served atop a bed of creamy polenta, these mushroom steaks fit the bill, whether served as a side dish or as a beef alternative for the main course.

PREP: 5 minutes + 20 minutes to marinate
COOK: 25 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed, wiped free of dirt
  • 6 to 8 sprigs of fresh herb such as sage or oregano
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. In a 13- x 9-inch glass baking dish, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lay mushrooms, top down in the marinade and scatter half the fresh herbs on top. Marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. Remove mushrooms from marinade. Grill mushrooms for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once. Remove from grill to a platter. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over mushrooms and scatter on the rest of the fresh herbs. Serve hot or at room temperature.

YIELDS: 6 to 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment

Hoppin’ John

Growing up in the South, I frequently discovered marvelous one-pot dinners made with easy-to-find ingredients. For many families, both money and groceries are oftentimes in short supply, and out of necessity cooks learned to make due with what they had on hand. Dishes like gumbo, etouffee and dirty rice utilize simple items including rice, legumes, vegetables and bits of meat or fish. Many of these dishes remain favorites to this day. With Hoppin’ John, the earthy flavor of black-eyed peas combined with bits of salted pork and a dash of spice create a mouth-watering treat that satisfy the biggest appetites with minimal cost.

Hoppin' John

Pork and black-eyed peas come together to create Hoppin' John, a spicy Southern staple.

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 48 minutes
STAND: 10 minutes

1-1/3 cups dried black-eyed peas, rinsed
4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups water
1 pound diced ham
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup instant rice, uncooked
3 scallions, chopped

  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon. Set aside.
  2. Add onion to drippings; cook 5 minutes or until tender.
  3. Stir in black-eyed peas, bacon, water, ham, cayenne and black pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 35 minutes.
  4. Return to boiling. Stir in rice and remove from heat. Let mixture stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in scallions before serving.

TIP: Although this dish can be served alone, the meal can be rounded out with hot skillet cornbread and a mess ‘o greens.

YIELDS: 8 servings.

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.