Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain KitchenEveryone is always looking for ways to cut out some calories. Lord knows David and I sure need to! The other day we had a Meatless Monday meal on a Thursday also! I bought a beautiful eggplant from the farmers’ market the weekend before and decided to make Eggplant Parmesan. This time, instead of frying the eggplant, I decided I would bake it to take away some saturated fat from the frying process. Here’s how I made it:

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen


  • 1 average size Eggplant, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices
  • salt
  • 1 ½ cups Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4  cup Grated Parmesan, plus extra for grating on top
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Basil
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for greasing pan
  • 2 cups Prepared Tomato Sauce (I make one to taste, but click HERE for a basic sauce recipe)
  • 1 ½ cups Grated Mozzarella



  1. Wash eggplant, slice and sprinkle the slices heavily with salt. Place in a strainer for 30-45 minutes. (Click HERE to find out about salting eggplants.)
  2. Meanwhile, make a breading station for the eggplant. You’ll need three plates or shallow bowls:
  3. Dish One: Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, oregano, basil and cayenne, and mix well
    Dish Two: Crack the eggs and lightly beat.
    Dish Three: Add flour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. After the salting, rinse and blot the eggplant slices off with a paper towel.Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Brush a 9×12 baking sheet with olive oil.Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  7. Bread the Eggplant: Coat each eggplant slice in the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Next, dip each slice into the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture. Add the eggplant to the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.Carefully flip the eggplant slices over and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes.Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  9. With a ladle, spread out enough tomato sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish for each eggplant slice to lay on top of. Place each slice onto the sauce. Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  10. Top each eggplant slice with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen
  11. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. (I usually speed up the cheese browning, by turning on the broiler for the last few minutes, until that mozzarella is golden.)Meatless Monday ~ Baked Eggplant Parmesan | The Mountain Kitchen

We couldn’t even tell it wasn’t fried. In fact, I think it was even better than if I had fried it. Try it and let me know what you think!


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

While People Were Sleeping

While people were sleeping the earth is dark and peaceful.





TMK-WPAS5While people were sleeping, two crazy mountain goombers get up at the butt-crack-o-dawn and drive up Skyline Drive to watch the sunrise.TMK-WPAS

Slowly but surely, the earth begins to brighten.


TMK-WPAS7 The Virginia Creeper begins to turn crimson red.


TMK-WPAS13And even what seems drab and lifeless is beautiful in the morning light.TMK-WPAS14


TMK-WPAS15 As light meets the earth, it reveals a mama and her cub walking about in the wilderness.TMK-WPAS21  TMK-WPAS20  TMK-WPAS19 Deer get a early breakfast before going to take a rest.TMK-WPAS18All of which these two mountain goombers were able to see while people were sleeping.

TMK-WPAS17 After the sun rose, we drove off in search of some more of that sleep ourselves, while people were probably awake… :)






Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


FFF BasilHere are 4 facts you may not have known about basil:

  1. In some cultures basil is a sign of love and devotion between young couples.
  2. Besides its aroma, basil has high nutritional value. Basil is rich source of vitamins A, B6, C and K and minerals such as iron, manganese and magnesium.
  3. Basil contains chemicals which repel insects. Certain experiments showed that basil is toxic for mosquitoes.
  4. The name ‘basil’ is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means ‘royal’, reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes held towards this herb were very noble and sacred.




Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger!

Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain KitchenI happened to come across an interesting recipe for Smoked Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings w/ Sriracha Mayo Dipping Sauce that was on a cool food blog called Grilling 24/7. David and I had been craving home cooked cheeseburgers for a couple of weeks. So when I came across this recipe, I couldn’t help but to imagine how it would be to crown a bacon wrapped onion ring on top of our cheese burgers… YES, PLEASE! 

Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain Kitchen

BEFORE: Boring looking cheeseburgers

Here’s how we made the juicy crowns of goodness to top ordinary cheeseburgers:

Bacon Onion Burger Crowns

  • Servings: 4-6 Crowns
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain Kitchen


  • 1 pound Bacon, thin sliced
  • 1 large Sweet Onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings

Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain KitchenDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut onions into 1/2 inch thick rings and pop the internal rings out until you have a nice sturdy onion ring.
  3. Wrap each onion ring with bacon. I used at least 2 slices per onion ring, making sure the the onion ring was completely covered with bacon.
  4. Bake 20-30 minutes until bacon is cooked and some what crispy.
  5. Place the crown on top of your favorite cheeseburger. ROYALTY!

    Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain Kitchen

    AFTER: Cheeseburger crowned with pure goodness!

Bacon Onion Burger Crowns | Burger King Ain’t Got Nothing On This Burger! | The Mountain Kitchen

David filled his crown with chili. Which got me thinking about how decadent it would be to slide a fried egg up on top of that crown… LAWD!

Thank you Grilling 24/7 for inspiring me and forever changing the cheeseburgers we serve up in The Mountain Kitchen! These were easy and awesome. The bacon gives you a smoky flavor and the onion gets sweeter the longer it cooks. A definite Do-Againer!

Burger King ain’t got nothing on this burger! So, when are you going to crown your next burger?


Categories: Beef Recipes, Grilling With Grill Master David, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

TMK-CinnamonRolls2When David and I went to Key West for our anniversary in April, we visited a spice shop called The Spice & Tea Exchange that had a store full of spices, herbs, teas and much more. It was like heaven for the foodie at heart. While there, the store clerk let us smell some of the spices and encouraged us to try some new things. One of David’s favorite spices is cinnamon and he had to have some of the Vietnamese Cinnamon. I wasn’t all that sold on it until we got home and I started adding it to some recipes. Oh my! I think we have been using saw dust before now… That cinnamon smells like “red hots” candy. Very spicy and almost addictive. Although there are a few store locations here in Virginia, they aren’t easy for us to get to. We will have to mail order more and soon, because we are running out!

I decided to try out some of this cinnamon on a recipe I came across in the many magazines my mama gives me. The house was filled with Spiveys a couple of weeks ago, when David’s son, grandson and “addopted” son came to spend the weekend with us, so it was the perfect time to try the recipe. Besides, I needed to redeem myself from the disaster I had last time I tried homemade cinnamon rolls. Here’s how I made them:

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

  • Servings: 14 Rolls
  • Time: 1 hour 45 minutess
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Untitled design



  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1  1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1/4  cup warm water (100 degrees F to 110 degrees F)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  1/4 1/2 cup stick unsalted butter, melted
  •  4 1/2 – 5   cups all-purpose flour
  •  1/2  teaspoon salt
  • a few drops of vegetable oil or some extra butter, to grease the bowl with


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, (optional)


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  •  1 – 3   tablespoons milk



  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat, until it very slightly begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until it is cooled and at room temperature.
  2. While the milk is cooling, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, eggs and butter. Beat in cooled milk.
  3. Add the flour and salt a little at the time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until a soft dough forms. Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes (yes, 10 minutes!) until smooth. The dough should be soft after kneading.
  4. Place the dough in a large greased bowl (grease with butter or a few drops of vegetable oil). Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
  5. Coat two 9-inch round baking pans with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper, then coat paper with spray the paper.
  6. Prepare Filling: Mix butter, both sugars and cinnamon together in a medium-size bowl.
  7. Punch down dough. Next, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread the butter-sugar mixture over the dough, then sprinkle with the pecans.
  8. Start on one long edge of the dough rolling up like you would a jelly roll. Pinch seam to close.
  9. Cut crosswise into 14 generous 1-inch pieces (Click HERE for yesterday’s KITCHEN TIP on how to cut the dough without squishing it). Arrange 7 pieces, cut-side down, in each prepared pan.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until buns double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the following morning.
  11. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover pans and bake buns until they are golden-brown and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.TMK-CinnamonRolls1


  1. Mix confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk as necessary, to make a smooth glaze. Invert buns to a serving platter. Drizzle glaze on top of buns (about 1/3 cup per pan). Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Family Circle Magazine

The rolls were gone by the next morning. I think our grandson ate at least 3 the first day! I guess I have redeemed myself. I am no longer the YEAST KILLER!


Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Sweet Tooth Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ The Best Way to Cut Cinnamon Rolls

KTT Cutting Cinnamon Rolls

Dental floss is good for other things beside good oral hygiene. Did you know you can use it to cut cinnamon rolls? That’s right, dental floss works beautifully to cut perfect cinnamon rolls without squishing them! Here’s how:

  1. Roll out your cinnamon rolls according to recipe
  2. Take a piece of unflavored dental floss about 24″ long
  3. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index finger on each hand as if you were getting ready to floss your teeth
  4. Place the middle part of the floss around your cinnamon roll…right where you want to make a cut
  5. Crisscross your hands in opposite directions, over the cinnamon roll, to make a cut  with the floss
  6. Place each cut piece on your baking sheet
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 until all the dough is cut
  8. Bake as instructed in your recipe

I will share with you my recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls tomorrow. Stay tuned…


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Pasta With Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil

TMK-MM-PSMBLast Saturday, I made arrangements with Mr. Mello, from Oak Shade Farm to purchase some of his lovely shiitake mushrooms.  I had to take His Royal Highness to the vet for a shot, but we had a late appointment. To ensure we didn’t miss out on Mr. Mello’s mushrooms at the farmers’ market, I contacted him earlier in the week to see if I could get some and to pick up a sample of his dried mushrooms to experiment with, as we had previously discussed.

For Meatless Monday I found a recipe that used fresh shittake mushrooms that I just had to try. Here is how I made: Pasta With Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil:

Pasta with Shiitake Mushrooms & Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, juice
  • salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces fettuccine or any pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus a couple of leaves for garnish


  1. Bring a 4 quart pot of salted water to a boil for cooking fettuccine noodles.
  2. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, according to package directions minus one minute. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, before draining!TMK-MM-SMPB3
  3. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and cook while stirring, until fragrant but NOT browned, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook the mushrooms until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.TMK-MM-SMPB2
  4. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then add the cooked pasta, the reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan and basil to the mushrooms in the skillet; toss to coat well. Serve immediately, garnished with more basil and parmesan cheese, if desired.


Adapted recipe from:


TMK-MM-SMPB1This recipe was wonderful! You could taste each individual ingredient with each bite. I couldn’t get over how much the lemon flavored the pasta. It made what is normally a heavy dish much lighter. Perfect for summer!

Next time I think I may use linguine noodles instead. The fettucine noodles were a little large in comparison to the mushrooms. All part of texture, and nothing to do with flavor. David and I even used the left over “Beer Can Chicken” (recipe to come) from Sunday night to add to the pasta for lunch on Tuesday. It was a great combination!

I am looking forward to experimenting with the dried mushrooms this winter, so stay tuned for that!


For Tips on how to take care of  mushrooms, click HERE.


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments



Here are 10 facts you may not have known about apples:

  1. More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States
  2. Only the crabapple is native to North America.
  3. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
  4. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
  5. The largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds.
  6. Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each.
  7. Apples are a member of the rose family.
  8. A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds.
  9. It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
  10. Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.

Apple season is upon us and are my favorite fruit! I have been enjoying them with peanut butter lately for an afternoon snack. What is your favorite way to eat apples?

Get to know your food!


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Smoke Free and 80,000 Views Later

WE'VE REACHED (1)Wow, we’ve hit 80,000 views! 

I can’t believe it!! I started this blog over a year and a half ago as a way to focus my energy on staying smoke free. Since then, I have remained smoke free and this blog has become my new addiction. I am learning a lot of new things about cooking and blogging and still have lots to explore and learn. Most importantly, I have enjoyed making new friends and getting into some awesome discussions with some pretty cool folks about food, interesting stories, and memories.  I have enjoyed every minute of it.


I appreciate your readership and support. I look forward to more exploring and sharing in the future. I hope that you continue to follow us as we continue to try to bring you recipes, kitchen tips, food facts and stories about life on the mountain.

I would also like to thank my husband. David contributes to this blog, but he has also had to put up with me trying to take pictures of food while he is either in the middle of cooking or right before he gets ready to eat a plate of food. He has been very helpful, and cooperative… well, maybe a little impatient, but that is ok! ;)

Thanks to all who stop by The Mountain Kitchen! I hope you will visit often or just stop by and say hello!

Much Thanks,

Debbie Spivey

Constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.
Email me!

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Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

TMK-BeefRibs-3We’ve been doing a lot of grilling lately. Maybe it’s the fact that David’s grill is easier to get to on the deck, I don’t know, but I ain’t complaining! Our stove is just too hot for summer time cooking.

We have discovered another local meat market that has wonderful local fresh meats. A couple of weeks ago, we took advantage of our findings. David decided he wanted to smoke some beef short ribs on the grill. I am always ready to eat when this man wants to cook beef of any kind! Here’s how he made them:

Smoked Beef Short Ribs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print


  • 4-6 (2 – 2 1/2-pound) beef short ribs
  • 3 to 4 cups mesquite wood chips
  • Beef Rub:
    1/2 tablespoon Salt/ 2 teaspoons Black Pepper/  1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper/
    1 teaspoon Oregano/  1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder/  1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce


  1. Sprinkle the short ribs liberally with the rub, coating all sides. The longer they marinate the more flavor they will have.
  2. Place wood chips into a large bowl and fill with water until they are submerged as much as possible.
  3. Heat a grill to 230° to 250°F. Oil the rack. Carefully place a handful of the soaked wood chips onto the coals. Then place the ribs on the rack over indirect heat. Cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn, throw another handful of soaked wood chips onto the coals and cook for 45 minutes more.
  4. Next, place the ribs in the middle of a sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap and return to the grill for another 15-30 minutes.
  5. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let them rest, still covered with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with barbecue sauce.


  • About 15 minutes before you place the ribs into the foil, feel free to mop them with your favorite sauce. David did not do this because he knows I don’t like the sauce caramelized on the meat, and would rather have it poured on afterwards.
  • You’ll need to continually check that the temperature remains between 230 and 250 degrees F at all times in the grill. If it gets too hot, shut the top and bottom drafts to smother the fire. Glowing red coals may cause a hot spot. Don’t cook the ribs directly over the hot spot, move them to a different, cooler, part of the grill. If the temperature dips too low, move the ribs to a hot spot for a while and add some hot coals.


If you love beef and you love grilling, give these a try and let us know what you think!


Categories: Beef Recipes, Grilling With Grill Master David, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Grilled Asparagus – Why did it take me so long?

TMK-GrilledAsparagusI love asparagus, so why did it take me so long to try them grilled?!?! I sure wish I had tried them grilled sooner, because I have been missing out! Here’s how I prepared them:

Grilled Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 pound asparagus, thick spears
  • 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • Lemon zest, one lemon
  • Parmesan Cheese, for serving (about 1/4 cup)


  1. Preheat your grill for high, direct heat.
  2. Break off any tough bottom ends, and discard – See this link Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Trimming Asparagus for more info.
  3. In a plate, coat the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle salt, pepper and lemon zest over them. Roll them around on the plate to coat them well with oil and seasoning.
  4. Grill the asparagus spears for 5-10 minutes, until nicely charred and just fork tender, turning them every few minutes so that they brown relatively evenly.
  5. Remove from grill sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired and serve.

We grilled ours with some fresh rock fish that was basted with Al’s Stolen Fish Sauce. An excellent combination!



Categories: Side Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Browning Tomato Paste

KTT BrowingTomatoPasteThe most important tip I ever received about homemade tomato sauce is to brown the paste. To release its full potential, make sure the paste comes in contact with the bottom of the pan you are cooking the sauce in. It will give you that all day simmered sauce taste in a third of the time.

Simply, cook the tomato paste in olive oil or the oils that cook out of your meat (if using meat). using a 2:1 ratio of paste to oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until you see it start to change to a dark orange red color. At this point, the paste is caramelized (about 3 minutes). Once it is caramelized, you have achieved what makes a long simmered sauce taste so good in less time.

Try it next time you make homemade sauce and let me know if you can tell a difference!


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Spicy Pepper Jack Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas

Every now and then the Mexican beast wakes up and we have to feed it. If you are craving Mexican food on Meatless Monday, try this recipe for Spicy Pepper Jack Mushroom & Spinach Quesadillas. Here is how I made them:

Spicy Pepper Jack Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces, mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 1 6-9 ounce bag Baby Spinach
  • 4 (10 inch) flour tortillas*
  • 7-8 ounces, pepper jack cheese (I used slices)
  • salsa, black olives, scallions, sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro, limes  or any toppings you wish to add for serving



  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat add onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes.TMK-MM-SMOQ-2
  2. Add a handful of spinach to the pan at a time. Let it cook down before adding the next batch. (This process will go very quickly). Cook spinach until it is wilted, but still bright green.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the filling mixture into a sieve over a bowl and allow to drain and cool, about 5 minutes.


  1. Using a paper towel, smear about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a large cast iron pan**. Preheat the pan over medium heat.
  2. Place the one tortilla in the preheated pan.TMK-MM-SMOQ-4jpg
  3. Quickly, add the cheese and 1/2 of the filling mixture, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space around the perimeter of the tortilla.
  4. Add additional cheese on top of the filling mixture, then top with another tortilla.
  5. Let the quesadilla cook for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes before flipping***.TMK-MM-SMOQ-5
  6. Flip and allow the other side to crisp for 1 – 1 ½ minutes.
  7. Carefully slide onto a plate.
  8. Repeat with remaining tortillas and other 1/2 of the filling.
  9. Slice quesadillas into four wedges (We always use a pizza cutter to slice it up as you would a pizza.) Garnish with any toppings you choose. and serve immediately.

* With tacos, we always use corn tortillas. But with quesadillas, you need the pliability of flour tortillas to hold the cheese and the filling together. It needs to withstand the flip

**Flour tortillas absorb a lot of oil, so you only want to lightly coat the pan with oil. I used cooking spray to get the best coverage without over greasing.

***The half-moon technique is easier to flip than a quesadilla made with two tortillas. Just spread your filling over half of the tortilla, then fold the other half over the filling. When the time comes to flip the quesadilla, slide a spatula under the open side, then flip the quesadilla over on the fold.

This is a quick and easy recipe. One that will definitely satisfy your inner Mexican cravings on Meatless Monday!



Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s That Time of Year Again…

not one thatPoor Atchee, it’s that time of year again where we are a house divided. I hope his poor little 15 1/2 year old heart can take all our bickering and yelling at the t.v. this year. Bless his little bones…Summer breaks



Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , | 6 Comments


FFF TOMATOESHere are 10 facts you may not have known about tomatoes:

  1. According to researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle, England, eating cooked tomatoes may act as a kind of internal sunscreen, by helping block UV rays, but not recommended that you discontinue sunscreen.
  2. If you save the seeds from hybrid tomatoes, you will not grow tomatoes that are exactly like the ones you started with. To get identical tomatoes, you have to grow seeds from heirlooms.
  3. Tomatoes are actually fruit. The government classified it as a vegetable in the late 1800s so it could be taxed under custom regulations.
  4. Americans eat 22-24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year. About half of that comes in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce, according to the USDA.
  5. 93% of American gardeners grow tomatoes in their yards.
  6. China is the number one producer of tomatoes around the world, followed by the U.S.
  7. Florida grows more tomatoes than any other state, but are recognized for their oranges.
  8. It’s thought that tomatoes originated in Peru, where their Aztec name meant, “plump thing with a navel.”
  9. New Jersey calls the tomato its state vegetable. Arkansas uses tomatoes as both the state fruit and the state vegetable.
  10. The largest ever tomato on record was grown in Oklahoma in 1986, weighed 7lbs 12oz and made enough sandwiches for 21 people!!

Get to know your food!


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Homemade Cocktail Sauce


As promised when I wrote about “Seafood at 1000‘”, here is our recipe for homemade cocktail sauce:

Cocktail Sauce

  • Servings: 1 Cup
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3/4 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together all the ingredients to combine.

Make ahead of time and chill in the refrigerator until needed. You can cover and store unused sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. With freshly squeezed lemon juice, you won’t buy store bought cocktail sauce again!


Categories: Homemade Sauces, Spices and Seasonings, Seafood Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Al’s Stolen Fish Sauce

Al'sAs promised from my posting last week “Seafood at 1000‘” Here is the fish sauce that David stole from his old fishing buddy Al.

Al's Stolen Fish Sauce

  • Servings: 2 lbs of fish
  • Time: 10 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ cup lemon juice


  1. In a small pot, melt butter into Worcestershire Sauce and lemon juice.
  2. Brush over fish a few times during cooking the fish, on both sides.

TMK-Swimming-SteakThis sauce can be used for grilled or baked fish. It is simple goodness… THANKS AL!


Categories: Grilling With Grill Master David, Homemade Sauces, Spices and Seasonings, Seafood Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday Presents: David’s “Man Crate” Grilling Essentials

I was recently contacted by a company called Man Crates to create a post about essential items for hosting a fun summer cookout. When I first saw the email, I thought perhaps I was being spammed. I Googled the company and their website came across my screen. So, this email wasn’t spam. Turns out that they are a fairly new company that ships awesome gifts for men in custom wooden crates. It is Man Crates’ mission to end the difficulties that have long been associated with buying gifts for men! Upon reviewing some of their crates, I have to agree, they are pretty awesome gift ideas for men.

So what are the essential items for hosting a fun summer cookout? Well, I went straight to the Grill Master himself and asked David:  “What essential grilling items would be inside his ‘Man Crate’ for hosting a fun summer cookout?”

For this Kitchen Tip Tuesday I give you…

David’s “Man Crate” Grilling Essentials:

TMK-DMCGE-Charcoal#1 Charcoal: 

Only charcoal for this mountain man. The only propane you will find on this mountain is the tank used to light the stove inside. Charcoal is essential to giving guests awesome food from the grill.

TMK-DMCGE-Chimney#2 Charcoal Chimney:

No charcoal starter fluid on this mountain. Only a charcoal chimney full of charcoal and a couple of sheets of burning newspaper underneath. That’s all you need to get your charcoals hot. The chimney is key to ensuring guest funny taste that food can pick up from lighter fluid.

TMK-DMCGE-WoodChips#3 Wood Chips:

David loves to smoke meat. When it comes to smoking beef, he prefers Mesquite wood. When it comes to smoking chicken or pork, his wood of choice is Hickory. The wood influences the flavors that will make guests come back for more.

IMG_20130815_180429_141#4 Tongs:

David has a set of “charcoal” tongs and a few sets for tending to the meat. Tongs are very versatile allowing you to grab things easily. He has a special long set of tongs for re-positioning charcoal and wood under the meat and he uses others to tend to the meats that adorn his grill. No lose of flavor when trying to move meat around of the grill by piercing it with a poker around his grill. He likes to serve juicy meat to his guests.

#5 Rub:

There are two rub recipes that are David’s must haves when it comes to Pork & Beef. They are as Follows:



  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder


  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

wpid-img_20130609_182742_217#6 Sauce:

David uses a secret sauce made up of butter sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ketchup salt & pepper. The sauce is great and is essential to ensure that guests have fun slopping around in their plates.


David’s beverage of choice is a frosted glass from the freezer with ice cold beer. Beverages are a sure winner to ensure the guests have something cold to wash down their food and lift their spirits.

All these essentials are key factors for hosting a fun summer cookout according to David. I would exchange the beer for wine… ;)


Note: I was not compensated in any way for doing this post.
Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ The Tomato Tart and The Unexpected Pie

David and I have been enjoying heirloom tomatoes for the first time this summer. If you can get past the way they look they are really delicious and have a much more intense flavor that your normal “Better Boy” or “BeefSteak” varieties. I’ve got to be honest, some of those heirloom tomatoes are just down right ugly and are not very appetizing. Do you have that problem too?

Anyway, since discovering the PERFECT PIE CRUST recipe, when I made that cherry pie for the Fourth of July, I decided to revisit a Spinach and Tomato Tart I made for Meatless Monday, last year. If you click on the link I just gave you that leads to the old recipe, you will notice I originally used a store bought pie crust to make my tart. This time I wanted to use the new recipe for pastry dough and make this tart again with a more tasty crust. I was also hoping to improve on the presentation. The first time I made this tart, I cut it while it was too hot and it just didn’t look all that appetizing (How embarrassing!).

TMK-MM-TARTDoughI made the pie crust the day before, covered it in plastic and placed it in the refrigerator, until time to make the tart. The recipe makes two 10″ pie crusts. My original plan was to make the crust for the tart and save the unused 1/2 of the dough for a pie for a dessert this coming weekend.

Things to did not go as planned. I wanted to use an actual tart dish this time. The problem was that the tart dish was not deep enough and didn’t hold as much filling as the dish I used last time I made this tart. My plan fell apart when I started pouring in the egg mixture into the tart. It was about to overflow and I hadn’t even added the tomatoes yet!

I paused for a moment to think about what I was going to do. Then, I quickly opened a utensil/gadget drawer and pulled out the turkey baster. Using the turkey baster, I siphoned out enough of the egg mixture from the tart to allow me to put the tomatoes in the tart. I didn’t expect was having left over filling and tomato. What was I going to with the rest of the filling and tomato slices? Luckily, I had already blind baked the second crust, with the intention of using it for a dessert pie. Not anymore!! I pulled out some parmesan cheese, feta cheese and some Caesar dressing from the fridge and concocted a tomato pie! Here are the two recipes for you to try. Oh, and don’t worry, they are portioned out properly so you won’t run into the same issues I did. ;)

Spinach Tomato Tart

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 (10 inch) pie crust – Click HERE to try the Prefect Pie Crust recipe
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 (9-ounce) bag of baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of Swiss cheese
  • 2 sliced tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.TMK-MM-TARTrolldough
  2. Roll dough into a 10″ circle. Fit crust into a 9″ tart dish. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Reduced oven temperature to 375°.TMK-MM-TARTSpinach
  4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until onion is tender. Add spinach, in batches, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat. Dump the spinach into a sieve to cool and drain any excess moisture out.
  5. In n a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and mustard.TMK-MM-TARTAssemblyTMK-MM-TARTPieBake
  6. Lay a single layer of Swiss cheese on the bottom of the crust. You made need to tear to ensure the pie crust is covered as much as possible. Layer spinach mixture on top of cheese. Pour egg mixture over spinach. Place tomatoes in the mixture. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top with cheese slices.
  7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until middle is set. Let cool for 10 -15 minutes before serving.


Tomato Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



  • 1 (10 inch) pie crust – Click HERE to try the Prefect Pie Crust recipe
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 (9-ounce) bag of baby spinach
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 2 sliced tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.TMK-MM-TARTrolldough
  2. Roll dough into a 10″ circle. Fit crust into a 9″ pie pan and crimp edges of the crust. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Reduced oven temperature to 375°.TMK-MM-TARTSpinach
  4. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until onion is tender. Add spinach, in batches, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat. Dump the spinach into a sieve to cool and drain any excess moisture out.
  5. In n a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, dressing, salt, pepper, oregano & basil.
  6. TMK-MM-TARTPieBakeSpread out 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese onto the bottom of the cooled crust.  Place tomatoes on top of the cheese, then sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the tomatoes.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and sprinkle with the feta cheese.
  7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until middle is set. Let cool for 10 -15 minutes before serving.TMK-Tomato-Pie-Slice

Both the Tart and the Pie were delicious, even if the pie was unexpected. ;)


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments


FFF Eggs

Here are 9 facts you may not have known about Eggs:

  1. The average hen lays between 250 and 270 eggs a year but some lay more than 300.
  2. An egg’s shell color doesn’t indicate the quality or nutritional value of an egg. The color depends on the breed of the hen that laid it. Hens with white feathers tend to lay white eggs and hens with red feathers tend to lay brown eggs.
  3. The color of an egg yolk is determined by a hen’s diet, nothing to do with an egg’s nutritional value.
    Dark yellow yolk = hens whose diet had more green vegetables.
    Medium-yellow yolk = hens whose diet had more corn and alfalfa.
    Light-yellow yolk = hens whose diet had more wheat and barley.
  4. Eggs contain 11 different vitamins and minerals.
  5. Eggs have the highest nutritional quality protein of all food sources.
  6. The surface of an eggshell contains as many as 17,000 tiny pores.
  7. Eggs are a source of omega-3 fats (the healthy fats), which can have significant benefits for the heart and blood vessels.
  8. A hen requires 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again.
  9. A freshly laid egg is 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

To learn more about eggs, visit:

Get to know your food!


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Leave a comment

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