TaraCooks has Moved

If you are reading this then you probably have bookmarked this page and returned to it.  Or maybe you clicked a link from another site.  The new site is at www.taracooks.com.  Now that’s the same address you typed in previously.  However, it was redirected to taracooks.wordpress.com.  So if you have an old link or bookmark please update it with www.taracooks.com.   We now have some flexibility to add some new features.

And visit often…we’ll keep posting great recipes.  -Richard


TaraCooks Gets a New Look

Hey food lovers, we’ve had a blast cooking  and photographing some great recipes for the TaraCooks.com web site.  I have found WordPress.com a great way to publish this type of web page.  But we want to go beyond what we can do here and I will be moving the web site to another web hosting company on Saturday.  I’ll be using WordPress.org this time and will have more flexibility and will be able to add more features.  There may be some ups and downs on Saturday but check back to see the new look.  If you like what you see here, please tell your friends.

Black Eyed Pea Salad


Black Eyed Pea Salad

Here’s a delightfully different salad recipe I got from Pioneer Woman.  However, as with most anything I set out to do, I don’t follow the rules and do it MY WAY.  I’ve never really been a fan of black eyed peas, but this salad is incredible.  Before passing judgement – be brave, be bold, and try it! 

I served this as a salad, but you could also serve it as a salsa/dip along with corn chips.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon fine ground black pepper


  • 1 sweet red pepper, cored, sliced, and diced
  • 1 sweet green pepper, cored, sliced, and diced
  • 1-2 fresh jalepeno peppers, cored, seeded, sliced, and diced (if you love HOT, leave some seeds)
  • 1 peeled, cored, diced cucumber
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped and diced
  • 2 cans drained black eyed peas

 Prepare dressing, set aside.  Chop fresh veggies.  Place chopped veggies in a large salad bowl.  Add peas and stir.  Pour dressing over veggies and peas. Toss to coat veggies with dressing.  Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours before serving. 


I’ve already made this salad twice this week.  The second time, I used black beans instead of the black eyed peas.  When I make this again, I plan to add a chopped avacodo and a little fresh garlic in the mix.  I believe we have a new favorite at our house for the new year.

Pineapple Cheese Ball


Pineapple Cheese Ball

  • 2- 8oz packages cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1- 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon Lowry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl whip cream cheese until smooth.

Add the drained pineapple, chopped green pepper, grated onion.  Mix until blended.  Then add the seasoned salt.

Form 1 large, or 2 smaller balls with this mixture. (I like to wrap the mixture in wax paper to form a ball). Then roll the cream cheese ball in the chopped pecans to evenly coat.  Wrap completed cheese ball(s) in wax paper and refrigerate until firm (2-4 hours).  Serve with Wheat Thins.  We rarely have any of this cheese ball left over.  However, it is best when consumed within a day or two.


Once you try this soup – you’ll never go back to Campbell’s again.  I keep the ingredients on hand at all times during the winter.  If we ever do get snowed in,  we’re ready!   Make this soup, put on your comfy pants, curl up by the fire, and read a book.  It’s just too easy to make and it tastes so good. 

Sherried Cream of Tomato Soup

  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice or V-8 juice
  • 2 14 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 chicken bullion cubes (I use NO CHICK’N)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream – yes heavy cream
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • chopped fresh basil (optional)

In soup pot, sauté diced onions in butter until translucent. Add canned tomatoes. Add tomato juice, NO CHICK’N bullion cubes, pinch of salt and black pepper then stir to dissolve bullion cubes. Bring to a near boil, and then turn off heat. Add in sherry and cream and stir. Garnish with chopped herbs if desired. Serve warm with French bread.

Black Eyed Peas-N-Pork


Black Eyed Peas- N- Pork  

Our gang here at TaraCooks.com would like to wish all of you a very Happy New YearMay God bless your lives with health, happiness, and His spirit today and throughout 2009! 

Here’s how to get all the New Year’s traditions in one main dish.  It contains those “lucky” black eyed peas.  Pork and cabbage go in the mix that so many folks here in the south serve with the peas.  This recipe is a complete experiment for me, and one I created after consulting with my life long friend Amanda.   

Brown 1 pound ground pork in large iron skillet over medium heat. (There was practically NO grease that cooked out of the pork. I was surprised). 


  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped medium sweet onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage (I used slaw mix, without the dressing) 

Cook chopped veggies with ground pork until onions are translucent. 

Then add:

  • ½ cup Minute Rice
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can drained black eyed peas
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

Simmer until rice is done and liquid chicken broth is absorbed. 

Serve in large cabbage leaves. 

Although I served this dish in the cabbage leaves, you could simply serve from the iron skillet for simplicity’s sake.  Amanda made a similar dish with potatoes and carrots in place of the slaw mix and rice.  She was able to roll spoonfuls of her mix into cabbage leaves, secure with a toothpick, and bake with some canned tomatoes as topping.  We both could imagine some country ham pieces accenting this dish too!  Any how, I had fun creating a new dish, and consulting with an old friend.  I was also pleased with the taste.  And I’m no longer a virgin ground pork chef!

Chocolate Ganache


Chocolate Ganache

  • 3/4 cup real whipping cream
  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until blended. 

Serve chocolate ganache with an assortment of dippers, such as fresh strawberries, pretzel sticks, pound cake chunks, marshmallows, apple slices, or other fresh fruit.  Great for parties!  Leftover ganache can be stored in an airtight container, then zapped in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.