Sesame Orechiette with Edamame

When you think pasta….what comes to mind?

Is it automatically linked in your mind to heavy Italian dishes, laden with enough cheese to kill a horse? Maybe you tend to think of cold pasta salads that are great with grilled chicken in the summer. Or, maybe just a side of penne or ziti to soak up sauce from Chicken Parm.

I have realized, here lately, that over time my family has become the “buttered noodles” family. All three of them would be completely content with a big, fat bowl of spaghetti noodles drenched in melted butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper pretty much any night of the week for dinner. I mean, don’t get me wrong. This really takes some pressure off of me the days that I work.

But, seriously. How do you find contentment in that?

This is a conversation that took place just about a week ago between my husband and me –

Me: “Hey, what do you want for dinner tonight?” (me being in full blown culinary mode when I want to put together something complicated and possibly blog-worthy, of course.)

Mark: “Would you mind if I just boiled some spaghetti? I think the kids would be fine with that too. I’m tired and I just don’t feel like waiting. I just want to eat right now.”

When he says “spaghetti”, I know what that means. Carbs. Butter. Salt and maybe pepper. Not spaghetti with bolognese sauce sprinkled with fresh Parmesan with a side of crusty bread.

Me: “Of course not.”

I don’t get it. If I’m starving I would not be happy with such simplicity. I need taste! If I’m so tired that I can’t throw something together, I will admit that Frito’s and cottage cheese would make me a happy girl.

Now that it’s summer and the kids are home, I frequently come home to sauce pans in the sink with remnants of boiling pasta. Don’t they see all the food that’s stocked in the pantry and fridge? So many things they could make –  sandwiches, paninis, salads, fruits.

See, if we’re talking pasta – I’m going to need a little more excitement going on than butter. At least throw something in there to set my mouth on fire.


Here’s a pasta recipe that didn’t set my mouth on fire…but definitely made my taste buds happy. The sesame oil alone is intoxicating. I could smell it all day long.

Next time I will be adding wasabi so my mouth will have the opportunity to be set on fire.

Sesame Orechiette with Edamame

1 lb. Orechiette, cooked and drained

1 1/2 cup Edamame peas, shelled and cooked

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tbsp white sugar

1 tbsp sriracha (optional)

Toss the pasta with peas.

Whisk together the oil through sriracha and combine with pasta.

Don’t you just love edamame?

Serve, or refrigerate for a while to soak in the flavors.

Sorry those little edamame’s are hiding under the orechiette.

They must be camera shy.


~Dixie Chik~

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Shrimp Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

Are you thinking this sounds crazy?? It’s not.

I promise. I wouldn’t lie to you about such things. Jalapeños are involved, after all.

It’s an egg roll, just not in the traditional sense. It’s filled with the makings of a jalapeno popper – cream cheese, bacon and jalapeños – with shrimp thrown in the mix.


And…they’re baked. So, if you sub the whole fat cream cheese for reduced fat and the bacon for turkey bacon, then you’ve got yourself a brand new low cal snack.

Or lunch. Depends on how many you eat.

Although this is the recipe I decided on after playing around with it, I want you to taste the filling before you make your egg rolls so you can tweak it based on your taste. Some of you may want more jalapeno (usually me), maybe more bacon, or more shrimp. You might even want a heavier cream cheese base. Just make the base filling, and adjust as you go.

Shrimp Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls


    For the Egg Rolls:
  • 8 oz. small shrimp, cooked and chopped
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked (I microwaved mine until crispy)
  • 4 jalapeño peppers, diced (remember to remove the seeds if you're a wuss)
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • 1 small bowl of water
  • For the Apricot Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400° and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the shrimp through peppers in a mixing bowl thoroughly. Here's when you need to use those taste buds and tweak it if you need to.
  • To assemble, get out an egg roll wrapper, keeping the others covered with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the wrapper to moisten. This is how it sticks together.
  • Facing your workspace, you should be looking at a diamond shape. Put about a little more than a tablespoon of the filling, lengthwise, almost to the edge of the corner closest to you. Fold up the corner edge, then fold in the two side edges. Tightly, but carefully, roll it up until you get to the end and the corner is sealed. Place on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

The chili garlic sauce looks like this if you aren’t familiar – BTW a major staple in my kitchen:

This is a remnant of one I felt compelled to bite into immediately when they came out of the oven – just to burn the holy hell out of the roof of my mouth. I’m just curious…What comes over me when I see food that I know has just been removed from a blazing hot oven, but the desire to taste the food suddenly outweighs enduring bodily harm?

I’m 36 years old and, obviously, have yet to learn this important lesson that your average 8 year old has probably nailed.

For the dipping sauce, whisk everything together and refrigerate until ready to use. You may be thinking that the sauce isn’t necessary, but I thought it was a great addition to the whole popper-cream cheese-bacony taste. Although it had a tiny kick to it by itself, the apricot was a nice touch to the spiciness of the jalapeños and the creaminess of the cream cheese, plus you could always scale back on the chili garlic sauce if you wanted more sweet than spicy. It kinda had that crab rangoon taste for just a second.

And I like to dip things.

See all that shrimp popper goodness just waiting to be dunked??

If you make these, please try the sauce – I think you’ll love it!

Have a great week!


~Dixie Chik~

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Black Eyed Pea Salsa

If I could stay home and create a million different types of starters and appetizers and make a career of it, I would be in heaven. I’m not sure why salsas, picos and finger foods intrigue me, but they do. I just love throwing all kinds of things together for my pita chips and tortillas to take a dip in.

As I’ve told y’all before, I’m an appetizer whore – I could make an entire meal from a couple of appetizers and a cocktail.

Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites – shall we?

Jalapeno Crab Rangoons

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

Salmon Ceviche

Baby Bok Choy Tuna Rolls

Orange Salsa Verde

 Crab-Mango Pico de Gallo

So, here’s another addition to my appetizer repertoire. Call it Cowboy Caviar if you want to, but this doesn’t call for corn. I make this all the time, and usually change it up depending on what’s in my pantry. The last batch of this disappeared so quickly I started to make more but realized I was out of black eyed peas, so I used Northern beans which turned out just as good. You could really sub any bean or pea in this depending on your preference, but there’s just something about black eyed peas that make them my favorite to use in this.

Black Eyed Pea Salsa

Serves about 4

1 can black eye peas, rinsed and drained

1 can petite diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained

1/2 large cucumber, diced

1/2 Vidalia onion, diced

Handful cilantro, roughly chopped

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced (remove seeds and ribs if you don’t like hot)

1 lime, juiced

Salt, to taste

Toss everything together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Know what I thought about? This stuff would make a great meat-free burrito – stuffed into a flour tortilla with some extra beans and jalapenos, topped with Monterey Jack cheese, black olives and grilled on a panini press.

You would then of course need sour cream. Oh, and some guac.

And Cholula.

I think I just went all ADD on you.


After letting this sit in the fridge for a little while, serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, whatever floats your boat.

Happy Sunday All!

~Dixie Chik~

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Fried Summer Squash Parmesan Sliders

If you’re from the South…was simple fried squash a given in your house for Sunday dinner? My family has always made it – you’ll find it right along side turnip greens, butterbeans, and cornbread.

Fried squash is a southern staple; like buttermilk biscuits and gravy, fried okra and fried bologna sandwiches.

What? I said it.

Fried bologna sandwiches. Pure fat-on fat on white bread. Every now and then I have a craving for a fried bologna sandwich with plain American melted cheese on white bread slathered with fattening-ass mayo.

Won’t admit to that, though. Wait, I just did.


Speaking of cornbread….I would like a show of hands of anyone that has ever poured cold buttermilk over crumbled up cornbread in a glass and eaten it with a spoon.

Don’t lie, Southern people. Don’t hide!

I haven’t had it in years; but it’s fantastic. I had it as a kid many, many times and I can taste it even now.

My Yankee husband would so gag at the thought. It is amazing, though, the things I think about from my childhood that I loved to eat, but I don’t make now.

Oh, wait – my favorite!! What about putting ketchup on butterbeans? Please tell me I’m not the only one. I could go 5 straight years without eating butterbeans but once I get the opportunity – they are not complete without the ketchup. And plenty of salt and pepper.

FYI – if you aren’t brave enough to give the cornbread/buttermilk a try – you could always stick to my Jalapeno Corn Souffle.

These cute little babies are a combination of southern fried summer squash, a cute little slider, twisted with the taste of a classic Italian parm dish.

Fried Summer Squash Parmesan Sliders

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tbsp granulated garlic)

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 16 oz can tomato sauce

1 1/2 tbsp oregano, dried

1 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp basil, dried, plus I added some fresh

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)

1/2 cup red wine (or 2 tbsp red wine vinegar)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 lb. summer squash, washed and thinly sliced. Try to get the bigger ones!

Plenty of kosher salt

2 eggs, whisked

2 cups bread crumbs, Italian seasoned

2 cups canola oil

1 lb. Italian blend shredded cheese

1 bag frozen yeast rolls (I used Sister Schubert’s 10-count)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat – add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes through Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for at least 3 hours; but stir every now and then to keep from scorching. I know this is longer than I said in the past to simmer this sauce – but I’ve found lately that the longer I keep it on a low simmer the deeper the flavor is.

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange the yeast rolls on a baking sheet and heat for about 5 minutes – or until warm – NOT golden brown and all crispy. Cover with a towel and set aside.

Increase the oven temp to 400°.

On your workspace, lay out a good bit of of paper towels, then lay the squash discs out in a single layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let them “sweat” for about 15-20 minutes. When they look like they are dying under a blanket of sweat, flip them over and salt the other sides. When that side is good and dehydrated – paper towel them all off and get them ready for their bath.

Now, dip each squash disc into the milk, then dredge in bread crumbs; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (or use a fryer if you have one) to about 375°. Fry the squash until golden brown and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Slice the rolls in half and spread butter on each piece, arranging them on the pan. To each bottom half, add enough squash slices to cover, ladle on some of the sauce, add one more squash piece on top, a little more sauce, then the cheese.

Do not put the tops on the bottoms. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted thoroughly and the bread is golden-y buttery brown.

Top with fresh basil, if you have it. Top your bottoms with the tops and serve away – with extra sauce to dip in!!

I love fresh basil, and my basil plant is being a little shit right now.

So needy.

Doesn’t it know I’m working a new full time job? And I have two children…and a husband?

Basil can be so selfish.


This post was a part of Food Network’s Summerfest blog series. Check out the other bloggers’ squash posts below!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Quick and Easy Sesame Summer Squash Stir-Fry
Cooking With Elise: Orange Summer Squash Bread
Feed Me Phoebe: Summer Squash and Cornmeal Cakes With Tarragon
Chez Us: Zucchini Pancakes With Minty Dill Crème Fraiche
And Love It, Too: Peter Pan Squash Spiced Oven Fries
Made By Michelle: Pattypan Squash and Tomato Frittata
Cooking Channel: Our  Top 5 Favorite Squash Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Summer Squash Confetti Salad
Delicious Lean: Summer Squash Ribbons With Feta and Pine Nuts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Summer Squash Chips
Ingredients, Inc.: Summer Squash and Kale Sauté
Thursday Night Dinner: Summer Squash Medley
Sweet Life Bake: Zucchini Fried With Tequila-Spiked Avocado Dip
Healthy Eats: Summer Squash Any Way You Slice It
FN Dish: Cheesy Summer Squash

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Reuben Stuffed Meatballs

Do you like Reubens? I love them – probably my all-time favorite sandwich, although I have many. The last time I ordered a Reuben, I asked for Thousand Island dressing and the waiter said “Ma’am, we have Russian – they’re one in the same”.

What? UmNo they are not. 

My husband – “Yes, they are Lady.” (Lady is what he affectionately calls me if you didn’t already know).

Being very hungry, I did not have the energy to argue with these two. I decided I would just prove him wrong with my BFF Google when we get home….teehee.

Oh wait, I forgot to do that. Damnit!

To me, Thousand Island is basically a mix of mayo, ketchup and pickles – give or take a thing or two. Russian dressing is less mayo, and sans pickles. Anybody disagree with me? The lack of pickles, in my opinion, officially makes these two different. I love to mix mayo and ketchup to dip my french fries in, but would I if pickles were in it? Probably, but that’s not the point here. I want real Thousand Island with my Reuben.

These meatballs came from an idea that literally came to me one day while I was at work, starving and craving a good Reuben. I got home and made a little meatball version that I thought was kinda unique, and gives me another appetizer recipe in my arsenal.

Reuben Stuffed Meatballs


1 pound ground round

1/4 pound corned beef, chopped up pretty fine (I used the thin sliced corned beef found in the deli, or you could use pre-packaged…freshly made would be even better!)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp seasoned salt

1 egg

4 oz Swiss cheese, shredded or just chopped into little bits

1 cup sauerkraut

Thousand Island dressing

Combine the ground round, corned beef, worcestershire, onion powder, salt and egg just enough to incorporate all ingredients thoroughly. You don’t want to over handle this. Ground meats don’t need to be messed with too much or they turn into rebellious teenagers and won’t cooperate.

Then you’ll have to ground them and take away their ipods and cell phones.

Wait, what?

Sorry, I have a house full of teenagers right now- mine and their friends. Is it time for school to start back yet??

Yes, please.

Anyway, just mash it and flip it around just enough to get it ready to be made into pretty little meatballs so they stay nice and formed while they’re baking.

Start by getting about a tablespoon full of meat mixture and mashing with your palms to make a flat circle. Just go ahead and make a bunch of these and lay them on your work area, so you can get to the easy part. Sprinkle a little cheese in the middle, followed by a little sauerkraut. Put another circle on top, and pinch the edges to seal and make one meatball. I gently rolled them around in my hands to get a meatball form.

It may take a few to get it right; but you’ll find the method that works best for you.

Put them on a baking sheet lined with foil and freeze for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. You can bake these right on the baking sheet, but I used my metallic meatball pan I got from Amazon – if you want one of your very own click here.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, give or take a few.

Move to a serving dish and dip in thousand island.

Or Russian, if that’s your thing.

I won’t judge.

I’m thinking putting these on slider buns would be a great idea…


~Dixie Chik~

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