De Ma Cuisine

Potlucks Archive



June 2014



Half Birthday Fun – Beef Chili

Written by , Posted in Beef, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Potlucks, Sides, Soups, Thoughts, Vegetables


Tim’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. We always try to make it special. But, the day is usually a mixture of birthday and Christmas Eve celebrations.

He is always a good sport about it.

But, this year, I thought that a half birthday celebration would be nice. An entire day devoted to celebrating him.

The day was filled with things that he loves.

We started with doughnuts. We’ve discovered a place that’s close enough to walk to. Often on Saturday mornings we will take the dog for a walk and get ourselves a treat.


Then he went to a movie with a couple friends while I set up for later.


We invited a few friends to continue the celebration of things that Tim loves.

Things like candy, caramel corn, and Blue Moon.


Dinner was more of his favorites: hot dogs, beef chili, store bought potato salad, fruit salad, and chips.

He loves the things that I cook. He’s fine with our healthy lifestyle. So it’s fun to surprise him with things that aren’t so healthy once in a while (although I used organic hot dogs and organic grass fed beef for the chili, so I still felt good about eating it).

It was a fun treat. (I maaaay have felt a little bit sick afterwards, but it was worth it. ;))


There was laughter. Lots of laughter.


Another favorite is ice cream. It’s pretty much an entire food group for Tim.

A serving size for him is a third of a carton.

We’ve discovered a little ice cream shop called Quenelle (pronounced kuh-nell). They make all of their ice cream. It’s insanely good. An ice cream cake from Quenelle seemed like the perfect way to end our little dinner.

It was.

I don’t know that I’ve heard as many exclamations about how good a dessert was as I did that night.

The cake was a layer of nutella, a layer of cookies and crème fraiche, with a devil’s food cake layer at the bottom.

That expression “we all scream for ice cream” – yeah, we did.

I accidentally put trick candles on the cake. I didn’t know that we had them. It was a trick on everyone.


As the light faded, we lit candles and sat for hours around the table.


The evening was one of those times when, as I went inside to get something and looked out the window, I just kinda stopped, and almost got a little bit choked up, looking at some of our dear friends gathered around our table. We’re so thankful for the little community of loved ones we have here in L.A.


I figured I should feed people chili. It’s easy and most people like it. It’s perfect in a bowl, or to top hot dogs. I made it the day before, then re-heated it the day of and kept it hot in the crock pot. Finding as many things to do beforehand made half birthday day so much more relaxed. I don’t think I stressed out at all. We had fun the whole day long.


Tim loves chili with beans. He’s happy eating it when I add tons of veggies. But, since it was his day, I though I’d try something new, and just do it with beef.


It’s pretty simple. The beef is cooked for a little bit with some seasonings. Onions are added partway through.


Since bell peppers are one of his favorite veggies I added two. Plus one hot pepper for just a bit of heat.


I have a hard time cooking without loads of garlic. Whatev.


And then piles of canned diced tomatoes are added in to make it saucy. I cooked it for two hours the first day, then probably a good 4-5 on half birthday day. It doesn’t need the extra day of cooking, but it sure didn’t hurt.


What a fun way to celebrate. It was a good day.

Happy 31 and a Halfth Birthday, Tim!

Beef Chili
Recipe Type: Main, Side, Beef, Meat, Dinner, Soup, Chili, Bell Peppers, Easy, Potlucks
Author: Rachel Oberg – De Ma Cuisine
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/2 T sweet paprika
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • pinch cumin
  • pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, leave seeds and ribs (optional), chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t sriracha hot sauce
  • 2-3 t salt
  • cheese, grated, for topping
  • onions, chopped, for topping
  1. Heat a large soup pot. When hot, add beef and seasonings through pepper. Break apart (or mash using a potato masher) and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add peppers and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar through salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.
  6. Served topped with cheese and onions.



October 2013



Shepherd’s Pie – In the Kitchen with Rachel O – Video

Written by , Posted in Beef, Cheese, Dinner, Gluten Free, In the Kitchen with Rachel O, Leftovers, Main Dishes, Meat, Potatoes, Potlucks, Vegetables


Right now we’re kinda in between seasons. It’s technically fall. But produce-wise, we’ve still got a few summer treats hanging on (hello zucchini!), yet are simultaneously moving into the winter goodies (hello root veggies!).

This Shepherd’s Pie is a mash of the two (no pun intended, hello mashed potatoes!).

This is a great dish for using leftovers. Mostly on the mashed potato end. You may want to bookmark this one for Thanksgiving, along with Shepherd’s Pie of the South. One uses up the leftover turkey or chicken, the other uses up the mashed potatoes. No, it’s not too early to start planning what you’re going to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s never too early to menu plan. 😉


Back to October, which is a great month, by-the-way. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago, and the baseball postseason is in full swing. Yeah, both of these make me happy. Add to that the cooler weather and falling leaves and you may understand why this is my absolute favorite time of the year.

Since it’s my favorite month, we should eat some of my favorite foods. We should enjoy hearty, warm meals. We should bring out the quilts and hot chocolate mugs. We should eat Shepherd’s Pie (and Chicken Pot Pie, and Chili and Cornbread, and… oh I’m getting hungry).


One thing that I love about Shepherd’s Pie is that it’s a great way to use yesterday’s dinner. I’m a big fan of making yummy foods and then repurposing the leftovers. Want to see how it could work? Say Sunday’s dinner is Roasted Chicken, with Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom and Savory Gravy, and Steamed Carrots with Honey and Butter. By making a little more than you will need the first night, you give yourself the starting points for the rest of the week’s dinners. Monday: Chicken and Rice Soup. Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie. Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwiches. Thursday: Chicken Club Pizza. Friday: Sheppy Pasta (make extra Shepherd’s Pie filling and toss with pasta and tomatoes). Saturday: Soup Day (Taco SoupMashed Potato Soup, and definitely remember to make some Chicken Stock with the chicken bones). (Of course make sure that foods are frozen if they will be saved for more than a few days, and re-heated to a safe temperature… but you knew that.)


Another thing that I love about Shepherd’s Pie is that it just tastes so darn good. Starting at the top, we’ve got some cheese. It’s all melty and maybe a bit crispy where it touches the skillet. Then a layer of Mashed Potatoes. Well, I love those on their own, so I can’t really go wrong here. And the foundation of this dish, ground beef (you could also use tempeh, chicken, maybe even tofu), veggies, and a bit of sauce. Well, sure, don’t mind if I do. You can make a big skillet to feed the whole family, or make individual portions and heat them up one or two at a time (I like to use medium-sized ramekins for this). It freezes well, so once everyone has eaten their fill, pop them into single serving containers and they can be saved for lunches. I wonder, maybe you could even fry an egg and slide it on top of the pie, then toast some bread, top it with a tomato slice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil, and have it for breakfast… stranger things have happened.


However it’s eaten, this meal is a winner in my book. Husband’s too. We love pie… especially the savory kind.

Happy Eating!

Shepherd’s Pie

Yield: 4-6

Shepherd’s Pie


  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 4 small radishes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • to taste, salt
  • to taste, pepper
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t coriander
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch cumin
  • 1 C peas (frozen are fine)
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 C stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
  • 4-6 C warm/hot mashed potatoes (4 large potatoes)
  • 1/2 to 1 C Gruyere cheese, grated
  • sprinkle coriander
  • sprinkle chili powder


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat oven safe skillet. Add beef. When partially cooked, add carrots through cumin. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
  3. Add peas and garlic, cook 1 minute.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar and tomato paste, cook 2 minutes.
  5. Whisk cornstarch with water and stock. Add to veggies and beef. Bring to a boil and let sauce thicken.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Smooth out and top with mashed potatoes, cheese, and sprinkle with coriander and chili powder. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and potatoes are hot.



July 2013



A Perfect Day for a BBQ

Written by , Posted in Inspired By, Potlucks, Thoughts

FennelPollenBurgersI think I would like to enjoy some burgers and hot dogs, some potato salad and coleslaw, some onion rings and french fries. We’re going to a BBQ this afternoon, so I’m guessing I will get my wish.

Are you going to BBQ today, this weekend, sometime soon? Maybe you need some ideas for your menu. I’m on it.

I love a good burger. This burger might be a little messy, but it’s oh so good. Yes, there’s an egg on it. Try it. Just trust me. If you’re not into bacon and egg on a burger, that’s cool too. Here are two other favorites.


I’m crazy about this Spicy Roasted Potato Salad. It has a good kick to it, but it’s also nice and creamy. Mmmm potatoes.

Cabbage isn’t really in season right now, but, if you’ve just gotta have Coleslaw, here’s one I like.


If you like the idea of hearty salads, Taco Salad is always delicious. Or, the Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad that I made for this week’s episode was really tasty too (and it’s what I’m bringing to the BBQ that we’re going to).

Maybe you like to have some Summer Chili for people to have on their burgers and hot dogs, or just on its own. It could also be eaten the way I made it for a recent episode, on Crispy Potatoes. That was a great idea!



I love dipping chips into dip. Corn chips and this Avocado, Tomato, and Fava Bean Dip are amazing. Seriously. I could eat a whole bowl of it all myself. If you prefer Guacamole, I’m happy with that option too.


And then there’s dessert. I’m more of a savory than sweets person, but I do still enjoy dessert once in a while. And I know there are many who would much prefer to eat dessert than the main course. I’m glad we’re not all the same. If you want simple, may I suggest some really good quality Vanilla Ice Cream (I’m partial to Trader Joe’s French Vanilla) with a spoonful of homemade jam over each helping? Or, Roasted Berries and Apriums over that ice cream, or Aunt Sue’s Chocolate Fudge Sauce… If you’d like something less ice creamy, more tarty, how about a Pluot Tart with Black Pepper! Or a Strawberry-Balsamic Tart… I don’t think you’ll be sad about any of these options really.

Whatever you do, however you celebrate summer, the 4th, Canada Day, and just being alive, I hope you eat well, enjoy your family and friends, and have a great time!

Happy Eating!



July 2013



Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad

Written by , Posted in Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Grains, Leftovers, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Potlucks, Poultry, Quinoa, Salads, Sides, Vegetables


Tomato Corn and Quinoa Salad
Recipe Type: Salad, Main, Side, Vegetable, Meat, Chicken
Author: Rachel Oberg – De Ma Cuisine
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Perfect for a picnic or a BBQ, this is a light yet hearty salad, with plenty of delicious summer veggies.
  • 2 C uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 C stock or water
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels sliced off the cob
  • 2 small summer squash, diced
  • 1 C green beans, diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C red onion, diced or minced
  • 5 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 C chicken, cooked and chopped
  • Dressing: 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 T maple syrup
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 t fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 t fresh chives, chopped
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  1. In a medium pot combine quinoa and stock/water. Stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
  2. Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil. Whisk and slowly stream in olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Combine half the dressing with the quinoa. Refrigerate while you prepare the veggies.
  4. Combine quinoa with remaining dressing, chicken, and veggies. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool completely.
  5. Serve as larger portions for a main dish, or smaller portions along with something grilled and delicious as a side.




May 2013



It’s Time to Eat Outdoors!

Written by , Posted in Holiday, Menu Planning, Potlucks, Thoughts

It’s feeling a lot like summer ’round here. The weather is hot and the food is light, fresh, and simple. I’m totally not opposed to a summer soup. Not at all. But, there’s definitely a time and a place for salads, barbecues, spritzers, and watermelon. And that time is now.


If you’re anything like me when I get hungry, I get a little, teeeeeeensy bit grumpy. To combat this, as you’re getting out the food, set out a few snacky things that can also go along with the meal. Veggies and Dip, Not Your Average Spinach Artichoke Dip, Fresh Veggie Salsa, Guacamole, or the incredible Avocado, Tomato, and Fava Bean Dip with Corn Chips are good options.




Once you’ve eaten a few bites, you can finish unpacking the rest.

My Uncle Jake makes these incredible ribs. I’ve never made them myself, because I don’t know if I could do them justice. Someday maybe I’ll attempt them. But for now, I’ll just hope that the next time we visit he just happens to make them (I may or may not send an email to hint at this wonderful idea).


My Mom has been making Potato Salad for as long as I can remember. It’s one of my favorites, and I think it’s also one of hers. I made it on my show once, with a few modifications. Both versions are delicious, so you can’t really go wrong.

If you want a one dish wonder that’s perfect for a picnic, a potluck, or just dinner on the patio, try this Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad. I could just eat and eat and eat salads like this. I may not be content to only ever eat salads, but for a meal, once in a while, I love an array of wonderfully delicious salads!


For dessert, there’s not much better than ice cream. I’m a fan of plain old vanilla without toppings (I know, I know, how boring). Buuuut, I also love it with some Roasted Berries and Apriums, some Strawberry Jam, or Aunt Sue’s Chocolate Fudge Sauce.



I could also say there isn’t much better than this Strawberry-Balsamic Tart. I guess I’ll just have to have two favorites. Maybe you could just serve both for dessert. I’m cool with that.

Now let’s picnic! I’m ready to eat!

Happy Eating!