salad greens

Dressing a Salad

Like most Americans, I always thought of salad as a bed of greens and a bunch of veggies slathered with salad dressing from a bottle. But when I read that the Italians take an entirely different approach, I needed to give it a try. The basic idea is: stop thinking of dressing as being separate from the salad. Dressing is a verb, not a noun. So the process of “dressing” is the treatment you give to your salad greens before eating. This is how it works: oil, salt and vinegar. Now, each person feels these ingredients should be used in

mississippi chicken

Mississippi Chicken

This is a recipe that a friend told me about, saying “you’ve gotta try Mississippi Chicken” – she was right! Its one of those oh-so-easy meals thanks to a trusty crockpot, a couple of seasoning packets (au jus and ranch dressing) and butter. The author at thecountrycook.net, uses boneless skinless chicken breasts. I also made them with boneless, skinless thighs and had great results so don’t get too hung up on specific cuts of meat. As long as it’s boneless and skinless, you will be fine. The recipe calls for peperoncini peppers, the whole kind, but the first time I

Vegetarian stromboli

Stromboli

Meat lovers OR Vegetarian versions Looking for some March Madness munchies? Even without a tournament happening, we still get in the mood for game time food, very much like football season, and Stromboli works whether the ball goes through the hoop or the goal posts.   I’m also happy to say that this is my 150th post! Time really does fly! So I’m glad to be bringing one of my favorites at this milestone. Traditionally, Stromboli is made with cheeses and cold cuts wrapped in dough. The dough can be pizza dough, but I really like using puff pastry and

broccoli kale salad

Broccoli-Kale Salad

with Citrus Vinaigrette To illustrate how cooking sometimes takes its own path, this salad started with a completely different recipe that a friend shared years ago for a farro (grain) salad, which had a unique dressing: Clementine vinaigrette. The salad was “okay,” but the star was the dressing. I decided to make my own version with this tasty Broccoli-Kale Salad. With this recipe, I’m trying for something that resembles the sweet kale salad I sometimes get from Costco. My version has a little less sugar and a little more control over the quantity. Plus, I do have occasional negative experiences

massaged kale

Massaged Kale

Today I am thinking spring. Oh, and what a coincidence. Today marks the vernal equinox! This is the day when day and night are equal, when daylight starts to increase and our agrarian roots start to tingle with the advent of “growing season.” And that should be a cause for celebration. Also, this day marks the time when we reckon with our willpower. Do those summer wardrobe shorts still fit? I don’t know about you, but I’ve come up “short,” so to speak, with my New Year’s resolution (to weigh what it says on my driver’s license). So it’s time

taco chili

Taco Chili

In this house, we love taco flavors. And we love chili. So it only makes sense to try a recipe that puts both together – Taco Chili! This recipe is adapted from one found on Taste of Home. In reality, we Americans probably use the word “taco” wrong. I once worked with a man who was from Mexico. During a work lunch I asked for a taco salad. He thought that was funny because in his mind a taco is a sandwich, so what I ordered was a . . .  sandwich salad. I can see his point. Today we

roasted cabbage

Roasted Cabbage

Roasted baby carrots, roasted chickpeas, roasted potatoes – even roasted salsa – you’d think I’ve roasted it all – but since this week marks St. Patrick’s Day, another is called for: Roasted Cabbage! Love it or hate it (I definitely love it) you haven’t had the best of cabbage until it’s been roasted. Because cabbage is so closely related to broccoli and cauliflower – all are considered cruciferous vegetables – it’s a safe bet that if you dislike one, you’ll dislike the others. And, according to prevention.com, if you dislike these tastes it’s probably due to your genetics. Just as

Apple Pie for Pi Day

Apple Pie

Yay! Get ready for Pi Day! As everyone knows, (does everyone know?) March 14th is Pi Day, a happy coincidence with the number of the month, 3, the number of the day, 14, and Pi, 3.14 (pushing glasses to forehead), the mathematical constant describing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. (No, there will not be a test at the end of this recipe). And what better pie on Pi day than the all-American favorite: Apple Pi, er, Pie! Apple pies have history in my family. My grandfather’s farm had an apple tree in the middle of a

samoa pie

Samoa Pie

The birthday of the Girl Scouts is March 12, which brings to mind Girl Scout cookies. This recipe is a wonderful tribute to one of the most popular cookies: Samoas. But this is no cookie recipe, it’s a Samoa Pie. What’s in a name? First, let’s address some lingering confusion. The Samoa cookie is made of a simple shortbread-type cookie smothered in coconut, caramel and chocolate. So good! But, here’s a question: Are you eating a Samoa? Or, is it a Caramel deLite? Perhaps you’ve noticed: Girl Scout Samoas are also called Caramel deLites. The difference in names is because

ricotta meatballs

Ricotta Meatballs

March 9 is National Meatball Day. Now, if you’ve got some make-ahead meatballs in the freezer, go with that. But I wanted something new, so I’m going with Ricotta Meatballs. First, a little history. While many people think that meatballs came to the United States from Italy, that isn’t the case. As far as historians know, meatballs were first created around the 2nd century B.C in China. From there, it’s believed that the meatball moved across the Mideast and finally traveled trade routes to make it throughout Europe. Spaghetti and meatballs were actually an invention of Italian-Americans. Later on, these

Oreo Krispies

Oreo Krispies

March 6 is National Oreo day. Now THAT is worth celebrating!! Oreos are my favorite “from a store” cookie. Let’s face it, they’re not easy to replicate at home so I’m not even going to try. Instead, how about combining Oreos with something just as iconic and something made at home such as . . .  Rice Krispie treats! (Cue the peanut gallery: wild applause). Mixing Oreos and Rice Krispie treats makes Oreo Krispies. And after your kids eat them, they’ll be called, “These are FANTASTIC, Mom!” Since this is “their day” let’s look at a few fun facts about

Hoagie rolls

Hoagie Rolls

When putting together some game-day food recently, I wanted to make my sandwiches a little special. Rather than bread, I was thinking . . . rolls. I certainly could‘ve purchased rolls at the store as I have done a ga-zillion times before. But this time, I decided to make them myself. Mmm . . .  hoagie rolls. There are few smells from the kitchen better than baking bread. For many of us, it’s nostalgic, transporting us to when our mothers or grandmothers baked bread regularly. Or, maybe it reminds you of your favorite bakery, or even a trip to France.

avocado egg salad

Avocado Egg Salad

March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day. What a great day to celebrate! And what a great story behind that fanciful character: Did you know? In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. William Ellsworth Spaulding was the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin (he later became its chairman), and he compiled a list of 348 words that he felt were important for first-graders to recognize. He asked Theodor Geisel (Dr Seuss) to cut the list to 250 words and