Pico de gallo

The fresh ingredients in pico de gallo combine to make a tasty topping for a number of dishes. Serve with tacos, nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, or anything you like. This is one of the most versatile dishes you can make. Pico de gallo can be used to spice up guacamole or rice, or it can be served as a salsa with tortilla chips. It is a basic complement to any Mexican meal, or you can get creative and serve it with something unexpected. 

Pico de gallo

4 to 6 Roma tomatoes (about 2 cups diced)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely diced onion (about half of a medium onion)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 to 2 jalapeƱo peppers, finely diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, roughly chopped

Juice of one lime

Place diced tomatoes in small bowl, sprinkle with salt, and set aside while chopping other ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine onions, garlic, jalapeno, and lime juice. Drain liquid from tomatoes and add to onion mixture. Cover and refrigerate one hour before serving.



Deep Fried Yellow Squash

Summer gardens are the best. Yellow squash is easy to grow and is usually readily available at farmers' markets during this season. One way to prepare it is to deep-fry it to a crispy texture. This summer, I have been frying mine skewered, and I'm not looking back. Each slice came out crisp and brown, and not a single piece slipped off the skewer during frying.

Print recipe

Deep Fried Yellow Squash

3 medium yellow squash, washed and sliced.

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil

Wooden skewers

Combine cornmeal and flour. Season squash as desired, and roll each slice in cornmeal mixture until coated. Check skewers to be sure they fit in the pan and trim to size if needed. Skewer the squash slices. Heat oil to 350 degrees (oil should be deep enough to cover squash). Fry until squash is crispy and is a light golden brown. Remove from hot oil and drain on a pan lined with paper towels.



Email Subscription Update

Dear Email Subscribers,

When you receive an email from me to notify you there's a new blog post, it will now come from a different subscription service. New notifications will be sent through a new service called follow.it

I believe this will be beneficial to subscribers, as you will have options about how you receive notifications. 

If you are already a subscriber, THANK YOU, there's no action required on your part. You will continue to receive notifications when there's a new blog post. 

If you're not a subscriber and would like to be, it's easy. Just add your email address to the subscription box at the right. You'll only receive an email from me when there's a new blog post to see. 

Thanks to all who read the posts and are interested in Sugar Spice and Spilled Milk. 

Best regards,

Anita Stafford

P.S. You can receive a FREE ebook copy of my newest book, The Catnapper Mystery. These will be available at Barnes and Noble or Apple Books on Sunday, July 25, 2021, or on Monday, July 26, 2021. After that time the ebooks will be $2.99. If you're interested in news about my books or writing, you can also subscribe to email updates at https://www.anitastafford.com/

                                                                                              Image by Dean Norris from Pixabay



Savory Tomato Pie

One of the best things about summer is the arrival of fresh tomato season. An abundant crop calls for a savory tomato pie. This delicious side dish is super easy to prepare and everyone at your table is bound to like it.

Print recipe

Savory Tomato Pie

4 peeled and sliced tomatoes

1 cup mayonnaise 

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onions

10 fresh basil leaves, torn

1 9-inch prebaked pie shell 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blanche the tomatoes, then peel and slice. Place sliced tomatoes in a colander. Salt the tomatoes and allow to drain. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese. Layer the sliced tomatoes, basil, and onion in the pie shell. Season with black pepper. Spread the mayonnaise and cheese mixture over the top, sealing to the edges. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned. Cut into slices and serve warm.



Banana Nut Muffins

The best cream cheese banana nut bread has shape-shifted into muffin form. Have one for breakfast or anytime for a satisfying treat. They are the ideal companion for a cup of coffee.

Print Recipe

Toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread 1 cup chopped pecans on baking sheet. Toast for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Banana Nut Muffins

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 or 4 bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir mashed banana into the mixture, then add pecans and vanilla extract. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 25 - 27 minutes. Cool before removing from pans. Makes 24 muffins.



Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Time is the main difference I've found in ribs cooked in an Instant Pot or ribs cooked in the oven. The flavor is the same, but the Instant Pot is much faster.

Instant Pot Ribs

1 side baby back ribs
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry rib rub
Barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle)

Prepare the Instant Pot by placing the wire rack inside. Add water. Remove the membrane from the side of ribs. This is easy to do by using a knife to separate the membrane from the bone side of the ribs, then pull to remove it all in one piece. If desired, the side can then be cut in half. Combine brown sugar and dry rib rub. Liberally coat the ribs with the mixture. Stand ribs on their side on the rack. The ribs will wrap around the pot. Set the pot on pressure cook for 25 minutes. Add additional time if cooking more than one side at a time. When pressure has released, remove from pot and place ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with barbecue sauce and place in a hot oven or under the broiler for a few minutes.



Sourdough Biscuits in Iron Skillet

Sourdough is one of my favorite breads. I keep homemade starter so I can bake up a couple of loaves of sourdough bread any time the mood hits. The starter has to be fed on a regular basis, and one cup of the starter is removed each time before feeding. This cupful of starter can be discarded or used for another baking purpose. An easy project for the unfed starter is sourdough biscuits. These bake up piping hot in an iron skillet.

Sourdough Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup butter, cold and cut in pieces
1 cup unfed sourdough starter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter an iron skillet. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Stir in sourdough starter. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by folding dough over several times. Roll out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place in prepared skillet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until slightly brown. Serve hot.