Thursday, June 16

Dinner for Real: It's back!

Earlier this year I started a series called "Dinner for Real," wherein I published real-life, tried-and-true recipes that any family cook could prepare on an average Tuesday. I liked it, and many of you liked it, too.

Then I had a big dose of "Life for Real": my husband had to undergo major open-heart surgery, followed three weeks later by a dangerous episode of atrial flutter. So for awhile around here, we were having "Unreal Dinners"--dear friends were bringing us wonderful meals. What a ministry! We were so grateful. That time was followed by a round of celebrations and parties as our middle son graduated from high school.

Now Jack is back at work, the kids are out of school, and I'm back in the kitchen, trying to put together a workable dinner each night. So I'm in need of a Dinner for Real re-start, and I thought you might be, too!

One super-simple dinner I make sometimes is quesadillas. They're tasty and couldn't be easier.
  • flour tortillas
  • shredded cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, whatever)
  • cooked meat, such as shredded chicken (optional)
Heat a large griddle. Spray with non-stick cooking spray (or use the fat of your choice). Place flour tortillas on the griddle. Sprinkle each tortilla with cheese. Cover with a second tortilla. Cook until bottom is browned, then flip and cook other side. Remove from griddle. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter.

These are quick, delicious, and almost universally liked. My picky 14-year-old likes his completely plain. The rest of us like to add embellishments to ours, such as sour cream, black beans, etc. And my favorite topping of all is my homemade salsa. You really should give this a try.

Fresh Salsa
  • approximately 2 lb. tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 small onion (I like Vidalias)
  • a few slices jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 bunch fresh cilantro (I like a lot)
  • salt and pepper 
Using a food processor, chop garlic, onion, and jalapeno very fine, then scrape into a medium-sized bowl. Chop tomatoes as chunky as you like them. (I process the tomatoes a couple at a time, just using the "pulse" button, so that they're pretty chunky.) Add the chopped tomatoes to the bowl. Stir in lime juice and tomato sauce. Chop cilantro and stir into tomato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste
 **Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.** 

This salsa is absolutely delicious. Because of the lime juice and the fresh cilantro, the salsa is incredibly fresh-tasting, even if you used canned tomatoes (which I usually do!). It's a great topping for quesadillas (or fajitas or enchiladas or just about any other Mexican food). It's also wonderful to serve as a dip for tortilla chips. And if you want killer guacamole, all you have to do is peel and mash an avocado (simply place an avocado in a pie plate and mash using a potato masher) and stir in a heaping spoonful of this salsa. Divine!

Do YOU have a great Dinner for Real recipe? I'm going to start running this series on Tuesdays again, beginning next week. If you have a recipe you'd like to share, please leave me a comment! I'd like to line up guest posters for this series. I want us all to learn from one another!


  1. So glad to see that your life is getting back to normal, Richella! Normal is a good thing.

    And I'm also excited to see this series back on your blog. I still cook your bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin every couple of weeks and family, as well as guests, rave about the flavor and tenderness. I'm all eyes and ears for new recipes! This one looks delicious!

  2. I'm all in, girl. I have pictures from meals I haven't blogged about yet, so I can fill in whenever. : ) I look forward to seeing new recipes!

  3. Yum...I love homemade salsa!
    Quesadillas are usually a quick lunch or snack around here, made in the microwave. One time a couple years ago I made them for supper and did them in the oven til they were golden and crispy...and my daughter freaked out (ewww! why are they crunchy!)

  4. This is so funny! We're having barbecued chicken quesadallias tonight! My husband gave me a quesadilla maker for Christmas since I make them so often. We have leftover chicken from last night's dinner and I'll serve some fruit with it. I'm too hot to do more than that tonight!

  5. Looks yummy! Glad things are back to normal for you! :)


  6. Thanks so much for your kind visit over at my blog :) It's so nice to meet you! I LOVE homemade salsa, and I'll definitely be trying your recipe. I was also thrilled to read the tip about putting drops of bleach in with fresh cut flowers! I'll be sure to remember that - my cut hydrangea blooms didn't last but a few days, I've already hung them up to dry. I look forward to seeing more meals - I'm always ready for a new meal idea!

  7. I am so ready for homemade salsa. Your version sounds so good! Quesadillas are one of my favorite things to order in a restaurant. I'll have to remember to try to make them at home!

    I'd be happy to guest post for your series!

  8. "life is real" no kidding!!! xoxo

    i like a lot of cilantro too!!!

    and sign me up- i'll do a dinner post :)

  9. I just posted, this weekend, our family's favorite go-to grill meal. But I also have another meal (maybe for fall?) that is no-fail and everyone likes. Here are the links if you'd like to check either out. (Oh, and yea, I make your same salsa, almost exactly except use a dry chipolte (sp?) seasoning instead of the peppers. I *cannot* eat jarred salsa any longer, after having made "my" own for almost a decade now!

    Thanks for the chance to share!


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