Friday, May 29, 2009

New York Strip with Baja Slaw

I've been wanting to do the Baja slaw for a while.  I got the idea from a local favorite restaurant. They no longer serve the baja slaw, so I was very sad to see it go, however I feel this is  the perfect opportunity to perfect my own.   Let's just say this is a slight variation or twist on 'their' recipe ;)  I think this slaw is very versitile-by itself,  as a side dish, as a salad, or used as a garnish if you'd like.

Sherry Berry's Baja Slaw
1/2 red cabbage
1/2 green cabbage
1 red onion
2 1/2 carrots
3/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 jicama root, julienned (optional)


Coarsely chop the  red and green cabbage.  
Cut up the red onion, . . . 


Grate the carrots, . . . 

and cut (or chop) the cilantro.  

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss in a cranberry orange (or similar) vinaigrette dressing.  I used about a 1/4 cup. 

For a shortcut,  I used this one by Organicville  but you can also use the recipe shown below*:
Let slaw sit in fridge for about ten minutes for flavors to settle. 

This Baja slaw is a  delicious pair with a steak, grilled chicken or barbecue (ribs, sausage, brisket, etc.)  and has quickly become a summer grilling accomplice, so this may not be the last time you see the slaw, or variations of it in this blog. 

Now let's get to grillin'!

1. Pick a nice cut of meat- (below are my recommendations, but I chose a NY strip this time.)
  • Steak:   Porterhouse, flank, filet mignon, strip, tenderloin, bone-in ribeye or a T-bone.
  • Chicken:  Grilled or smoked chicken quarters, drumsticks, breasts, or thigh filets.
  • Fish:  Grilled salmon, halibut, sole, seabass, tuna steak, or snapper.
2.  Marinate meat overnight.  I chose to use a McCormicks Grill Mates steak seasoning, but you may use onion powder, chopped garlic gloves, and pepper in lieu of prepared seasoning.  I rubbed the marinade over the steaks, and poured a 1/2 cup of vinegar over them and let sit overnight covered in the fridge.  You can marinate for as little as 30 minutes if you wish;  Just allow time for the flavors to marry.  Puncture the steak(s) with a fork many times on each side (50-60 punctures on each side will suffice.)


3.  Heat the grill to 375, and grill steak(s) for 7-10 minutes on each side.  For desired internal tempertures, depending on how you want your steak prepared, you may use a meat thermometer.  You may also baste the steaks with a steak sauce after flipping each side. 

4.  Once steaks are done, serve with a side of Baja slaw, and you're ready for a backyard barbecue (or dinner party indoors- where there's no

*Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice concentrate
    1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar, shake well, and pour over salad (or slaw in this case).   Refridgerate for up to five days.  Always shake well before serving.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Homestyle burgers and fries

I had a craving for  a good burger this weekend, but didn't really want to go out to another burger joint in town, so we decided to make our own with some fries on the side :)  Any opportunity to use our grill is a must... 

1.  Grilled the burgers according to the internal temperature desired- using a meat thermometer.  Hubby wanted medium-well burgers (145-150 degrees) and I wanted well done (160 degrees and above).    I used the McCormicks Grillmates hamburger seasoning.  If you want a 'jucier" burger, use a 80/20 or 85/15 lean to fat ratio ground beef.

2.  Cut 2 to 3 russet potatoes in slices and seasoned them with cajun seasoning.

3. Fry potato wedges in a pan with a little canola oil.  Keep a lid on the pan to keep the moisture in.  This keeps the potatoes soft as well.

4.  When potatoes are browned on both sides, remove from oil and drain in a dish lined with a couple of folded papertowels or napkins.

5.  Build your burger as you wish;  I prefer a slice of American cheese, romaine lettuce, pickles, spicy brown mustard and a 'swig' of ketchup.  I also added a little more of the hamburger seasoning on top--  Mr. Sherry Berry prefers barbecue sauce, tomatoes and extra pickles on his ;)



Sopaipilla Cheesecake Squares

I came across this dessert on one of networking sites I visit often.  One of the ladies shared this recipe and I had been wanting  to try it for a very long time.  I finally made it, and it was yummy!  Disclaimer: This dessert is fattening, addicting, and is REALLY rich.  So eat it in moderation, or share it with a group of




  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds or pecans


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Beat the cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape the each piece into 9x13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough.
  3. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together with the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the cheesecake along with the almonds.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

Being from Texas, alot of our dishes have a Mexican influence;  Growing up I remember eating tacos of all sorts (puffy, crispy, soft) well as, chalupas, flautas, chimichangas, gorditas, and pretty much any other variety of "a tortilla wrapped around something"    Inspired by a childhood favorite coupled with the start of some summertime grilling, I thought I would take a stab at these spinach quesadillas.  They're fun to make, and of course you can add the fillings that you desire.  I don't really like mushrooms or tomatoes, so I didn't use them but by all means modify the ingredients as you wish.

Here in Texas we absolutely love HEB supermarkets.  They have fresh produce and meats, and their prices are fair.  They carry a variety of pre-seasoned chicken breasts for convenience.  I chose the ones seasoned for fajitas (of course :)  

If you purchase fresh chicken breasts that are not pre-seasoned, I suggest just seasoning them with fajita seasoning or ground cumin, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

I also picked up some flour tortillas, which are made fresh daily in my HEB.  You may also used the packaged ones, usually sold on the bread aisle.  Local restaruants in your area may sell fresh tortillas for as little as $.15 cents each.  Taco Cabana is a local Mexican fast food chain that sells them here in Texas, and they are very good.  

Tortillas come in so many varieties.  I've seen spinach, tomato, wheat, and even pesto. You can most definately use these flavors as well.  I went the traditional route with this dish.

Fillings:  This is what I used, but as I stated earlier you may use any fillings that you wish. 

1 white onion 
1 green or red bell pepper
2 1/2 cups of shredded colby or monterray jack (or mixed) cheese 
1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves (or the ones in the bag can be used as well)
1 pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Other popular options for fillings:  mushrooms, jalapenos, pico de gallo, tomatoes, beans (black, pinto, kiney, etc.), 

Cheeses: smoked gouda, swiss, jalapeno jack
Meats:  ground beef (with taco seasonings or groud cumin), meatballs, diced ham, shredded chicken.

Sooo let's get started!

1.  Chop bellpepper and onion corsely.  Place in a 'bundle' of foil paper for easy grilling.  Spray foil paper  with non-stick spray or olive oil to prevent sticking.

2.  Prepare charcoal or gas grill cooking (375 degrees F.) 

3.  Place bundle of onion and bellpepper on grill, as well as seasoned chicken breasts.
Note:  I placed my chicken breasts on foil paper because it makes for easier clean up.  You don't have to do this;  You may place chicken on grill grates if preferred.

4.  Grill chicken for about 6-8 minutes on each side.  In the meantime, while chicken is grilling, prepare your sauteed spinach (or whatever other veggies you have chosen).  I sauteed spinach in a small skillet on the stove with a tiny bit of olive oil and pinch of pepper.

5.  Set oven to broil. 

6.  Once chicken is grlled an ready, remove from grill and place on a place or cutting board for slicing.

7.  Also remove bellpepper and onion from grill at this time.  Sprinkle with pinch of salt/pepper.

8.  Slice chicken and set aside. 

9,  Take out tortillas and brush with a little butter or butter subsitute of your choice.
10.  Place vegetables on top of tortillas as shown.

11.  Top off with cheese. 

12.  Place a second tortilla on top, and place in oven for a minute or two (until cheese melts.) Then flip the quesadilla on the other side and repeat.  This step can be done on the grill as well, if you choose to use it instead of a conventional oven.  The nice thing about the grill is that you get the infamous "grill marks" on your tortillas...  which makes them look extra 'special'... hee hee.

13,  Cut finished quesadilla in fourths.

And Voila!  you're done!   

You know the drill.....Drumroll please!  

He likes it!  He likes it!  (Mr. Sherry Berry poses for the camera in his 'Turkey Day' shirt we got at a Thanksgiving volunteer function.  Yes, it's May and he's still wearing that tshirt.)

I liked the quesadillas too.. they were really a good snack.. I even had one for breakfast the next day. 

- Oh and in case you're wonding what refreshing beverage that is sitting next to his plate.. that was a glass of peppermint green tea I made.  Follow the link for instructions on making the tea.



Iced Peppermint Green Tea

I got inspired to make this tea from reading an article in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

It's really simple.  Just buy some peppermint tea bags from your grocer.  If you choose to use loose leaves, use a strainer. 

I used the Lipton Green Peppermint tea.  Use four teabags and steap in a pot of boiling hot water or a tea kettle for about ten minutes or so to allow for the peppermint to infuse the water.

Remove teabags and pour into a pitcher for serving.  Add sugar to taste (I used 3/4 c of raw sugar to a two quart pitcher.) Fill pitcher with ice cubes and stir to dissolve sugar.  Serve in a glass and garnish with mint leaves.  Enjoy


Fresh Strawberries n' Creme Cake

It's that time again :)  Mr. Sherry Berry and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary this year.  As part of a tradition we started three years ago (due to the the cake top we froze on our wedding day not tasting up to par)- we usually order a small cake from our baker done in our wedding cake flavor, strawberries and creme.  I usaually call a couple of months ahead of time to order, because they are usually booked this time of year, due to weddings.   Well, lets just say the date slipped my mind, and we weren't able to get our cake in time :(  Sooooo... I decided to try to make my own ('try' being the operative word   Yes, it's not "home made" and yes the icing if from a can,....but who cares right?


1 box of Betty Crocker SuperMoist Vanilla Butter Recipe White cake mix
2 round cake pans
1 can of Betty Crocker buttercream frosting
1 Pint of fresh, ripe strawberries
Red gel food coloring (I used Wilton brand)

1.  Prepare cake mix according to box instructions.   Let cake cool on a cooling rack and remove from pans.  Once cooled, mix one drop of red gel color with frosting/icing to make a light pink color. (This step can be omitted;  I just wanted a pink cake, like our wedding cake (see picture in link above) so that's why I used the red coloring.

If top of cake is domed, use a long knife to cut and thin layer off the top of the cake to make it level. Smooth a thin layer of icing on top of one of the cake layers.   This will be the base for your strawberry layer.  

Slice strawberries... 

...then layer them in a circular pattern between the cake layers.
Then, place the other cake layer on top, and smooth icing over the entire cake in a swirling motion.  Enjoy!   --- wasn't as good as our wedding cake, but it will do for this year :(... next year I'll make sure I call our baker waaaay in