Karate Chop Steak

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Karate Chop Steak

Karate Chop Steak

Chopped steak, basically a pan-fried hamburger sans bun, is the ultimate man food. Salisbury Steak has been a Hungry Man frozen dinner option for decades. Simple, but tasty, I used to make this recipe years ago when my husband and I were first dating and he always loved it. Paired with Lemon Herb Couscous and Blue Green Beans, it transforms the meat patty TV dinner of our youth into something grown-up-dinner-party-worthy and female friendly. The meat is given a surprising flavor of soy sauce, to make this not only my husband’s, but one of my kids’ favorite as well. Enjoy

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Cool American Ranch Chicken

Cool American Ranch Chicken

I remember my first few months grocery shopping in the Netherlands. I’d peruse the stores, translating, hoping I’d find the right ingredients, and looking for familiar brands. The familiar brands were few and far between – but my local Jumbo grocery store stocked Doritos. Yum! I eyed each flavour (yes, spelled with a ‘u’). Nacho Cheese, Natural, and what’s this? Cool American? What the heck does that mean? Curious, I exchanged my Euros for a Cool American flavoured bag of tortilla chips and opened it upon entering my house. I reached in, grabbed and chip and took a bite. Ranch!

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Island Margarita Pie

Island Margarita Pie

Cool and salty, like an island breeze, describes this Island Margarita Pie. It’s one of my Mom’s most favorite desserts to bring to potluck functions, especially in the summer. I requested the recipe from her, knowing the re-creation in Europe would be the ultimate challenge – the key ingredient is Cool Whip! Cool Whip – not frozen, not watery, but that perfect consistency every time, is not available in Europe (that I know of anyway). I put my Google skills to the test and ran through a couple of trials with errors. The final result (I’m happy to say) is

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Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar

This one goes hand-in-hand with my Not Your Fergie’s Black Eyed Peas recipe. If you’re like me, I like to make my black eyed as a side-dish for a country meal (perhaps some savory pork chops or fried chicken) but then I have half a pot of beans left over! This is a great way to revamp those peas. I last served this cold as a side salad, but I’ve also served as a dip with a side of tortilla chips. Preppin’ 4 cups (about 650 grams) cooked black eyed peas (if you’re pressed for time, a couple cans of

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Not Your Fergie’s Black-Eyed Peas

Not Your Fergie’s Black-Eyed Peas

Belgians and BBQ – it’s what they do in the summer. Kids hop in and out of blowup pools (and not the kiddie ones you have in your American-mind – these babies are about the size of a hot tub). Guests sip iced tea or glasses of rose’ while the host fires up the grill. Everyone is invited to bring dessert or a side. We were the only Americans invited to a Belgian BBQ a few weeks ago and I thought I’d treat them to one of my favorite, and most Texan, side-salads I could think of – Texas Caviar.

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Strip Mall Salsa

Strip Mall Salsa

Any true Texan knows the best Mexican restaurants in town aren’t off the highway, but tucked into those strip malls in your neighborhood – next to the Kroger, the dry cleaners, and/or the nail salon. These restaurants – with their neon signs and ceiling tiles (painted black, if they’re fancy), rubbery booths and plastic tablecloths – aren’t out to win any decor awards. It’s the fantastic food, always served hot in ridiculously large quantities, the house special margarita, and the salsa that brings the neighbors coming back again and again. I made salsa before. Using a fork, I’d dangle fresh

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Find Your Beach Fajitas

Find Your Beach Fajitas

So, I have a confession to make. My favorite fajita marinade in the whole world is Claude’s. I’ve carried countless bottles of this glorious stuff over the ocean in suitcases. If anyone is looking for a hostess gift when they visit me in Belgium, this is all I want. Well, that and Bath and Body Works hand soaps. But, with my contraband supply depleting and the temperatures rising here in Belgium (thus, making me always think of Texas) we’ve been grilling like crazy. I have been tapping into my backup homemade fajita marinade recipe. I like to call this one,

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Love You the Most French Toast

Love You the Most French Toast

My mom’s special French toast was always my favorite. Slices of Roman Meal wheat bread were dipped into beaten eggs and milk and then she’d add her secret ingredients. She’d press the egg-dipped slices into a mixture of crushed corn flakes and sweetened shredded coconut. She’d melt butter in a skillet to brown on both sides then serve with a generous amount of maple syrup. It was heavenly and I thought that’s how all French toast was made. Imagine my surprise when I ordered French toast at a restaurant as a teenager and found they had forgotten the corn flakes

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

The majority of the members of my bookclub in Leiden were vegetarians and I brought this dish to one of our first meetings. The girls were so impressed. “Oh my, did you boil the artichokes yourself and use fresh spinach?” the hostess asked. I laughed, flattered that she thought I’d go to so much effort, and I had to admit – “Uh, no. . . I used frozen spinach and canned artichokes,” and in between mouthfuls she nodded. “Well, it tastes fantastic,” and we agreed. This recipe is so easy, but tastes like a million bucks. Preppin’ 1 package (8

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Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp

There’s nothing that says summer like peaches. My roommate from college had a peach tree in her yard in Big Spring. The tiny tree branches hung to the ground, heavy with gorgeous, juicy peaches. I helped harvest them one Memorial Day weekend years ago, and her aunt turned them into a luscious peach cobbler. This weekend my Belgian friend hosted a BBQ – and asked everyone to bring something. With the sun shining, temperatures warm, and promises of spending an afternoon outside just chilling and grilling, I knew a peach. . . something would be the only thing that would

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