Balsamic Cucumber Tomato Salad

Balsamic Cucumber Tomato Salad

‘Tis the season! Salad season, that is. Ring in the summer with marvelous fresh fruits and vegetables. For me, cucumbers and tomatoes are tops. Salads are needed for this in-season produce!!! This salad takes inspiration from two others on this site. One is my Greek Cucumber Salad, with its main ingredients of cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. And the balsamic vinaigrette dressing is reminiscent of a Caprese salad. Taking these favorite tastes and making a new salad is an easy button for sure. That’s what summer is all about! Ingredients for Balsamic Cucumber Tomato Salad It’s a pretty simple ingredient

Pork tenderloin

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

In the world of cooking meat, the tenderloin is not only one of the most tender cuts, but also lean and healthy. The only problem with pork is that, since it’s so lean, it’s easy to over-cook (such a fine line between tasty, tender meat and shoe leather). For years I struggled using various ingredients and this technique and that. Finally, it came down to having a good marinade and a careful cooking technique. Marinade for grilled pork tenderloin The inspiration for this marinade starts at allrecipes.com, but I revised it many times to make it my own. You may

easy chocolate mousse

Easy Chocolate Mousse (3 ingredient)

Chocolate Mousse is one of my favorite desserts: delicious, decadent and chocolate. The trifecta! So finding an especially easy version made me deliciously happy! Mousse recipes can take many forms. Some are sweet, others savory. Sweet mousses are typically made with whipped egg whites, whipped cream, or both. Some chocolate mousses call for the addition of egg yolks to give the final product a richer texture. Sometimes the mousse is stabilized with the addition of gelatin. (Wikipedia) I experienced that variety on a trip last year. I went with a group to Madagascar, an island that was part of the

Sugar Free Lemonade

Sugar-Free Lemonade

Summer is here! And lemonade is definitely my fav summer drink. I’m a big fan of tart ‘n sweet in one glass. But the sugar? Not so much a fan. Oh, the taste, for sure. But those carbs? It’s too hot to burn all those extra calories! So I was excited to learn about lemonade made with sugar alternatives. I stock these for when I want to go low carb in order to help my jeans fit. The great thing about making your own lemonade is that you’re in control of the overall sweetness of the final beverage. Win!! How

grilled pineapple

Grilled Pineapple

After using grilled pineapple in a few recipes here, I realized that it deserves its own post. What a surprising taste! You have to try it. Don’t get me wrong. Mother nature’s fresh pineapple,with its sweet-but-tart taste, is a taste miracle, so to speak. If paradise had a taste, for sure, it would be pineapple. But grilling the fruit transforms it. At first you might be skeptical, but give it a try. It’s heavenly! How to grill pineapple Grilling pineapple is pretty darn simple. No marinade, no special prep involved. If starting with canned pineapple slices, here are the steps:

grilled zucchini

Grilled Zucchini

I definitely love my veggies grilled: Grilled Beets, Grilled Asparagus, and now: Grilled Zucchini! Zucchini is great because it’s so plentiful during the summer, and frankly, it’s our fault if we can’t find different ways to cook it. As you may know, I prefer to grill on a hot summer day rather than heat up the house. And this grilling method has the added “ingredient” of simplicity. As long as the grill is fired up for the main course, why not use it for side dishes, too, right? And don’t mistake this for a one-note dish. Later, I will give

Frozen strawberry dessert

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

Ah strawberry season! There’s something so special about these beautiful berries filled with sweet juicy goodness. So many berries! So many possibilities! Readers of my blog know that I grew up on a family farm. We grew lots of vegetables, but also strawberries. When you grow strawberries you need some easy desserts to take advantage of the bountiful crop. Another bountiful farm ingredient? Whipping cream, courtesy of Betsy, the cow. For my family, finding both of these food wonders in one dessert was considered a win. This recipe has origins in my mom’s recipe box, but I adapted it with

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. Even though it’s available year-round, I still like it best when I buy it now, when it’s in-season. It just tastes better! In-season asparagus also means it’s bountiful, allowing a variety of ways to prepare it. That way, I can serve it more than once during the week yet feel as though it’s a completely different dish! That’s where this grilled asparagus recipe comes in handy. Keep the kitchen cool by easily grilling outside. If you’re already using the grill for another part of your meal, adding asparagus is a snap. How to

Chinese Chicken on a Stick

Chinese Chicken on a Stick

Sometimes, the appetizers on a restaurant menu are the most appealing to me. Chinese-American restaurants, especially. I love the egg rolls, wontons and soups. And I especially love chicken on a stick, sometimes called teriyaki chicken or chicken satay. They have a taste I cannot resist! You’ll find that special taste at most every mall food court. I count the guy handing out free teriyaki chicken samples as one of my closest friends. Chicken on a stick is also a common menu item at some summertime state fairs. Perfect walk-around-while-eating food! At home, the only walk required is to the

Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce

Taco Bell Quesadilla Sauce (Copycat)

Ask almost anyone who’s had a Taco Bell quesadilla and they’ll agree: The sauce is BOSS. It provides that little extra something in your quesadilla that keeps you coming back. Quesadillas are so easy to make at home! Can the same be said for the sauce? Is it possible to make yourself? I say yes! 😀 What’s in Taco Bell’s Quesadilla sauce? I am not Taco Bell therefore I do not have the exact recipe, but we all know the result we crave. It starts with sour cream and mayo for a smooth and creamy base. Then, add some chopped

feat image

Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken

For a while during “Covid quarantine,” it seemed like chicken breasts were the only “meat” I could count on finding. So, I started looking for new ways to cook them. From that, comes today’s recipe: Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken. This new twist on an old staple was warmly received in my kitchen. Let’s break down the parts of this: What are Jalapeno poppers? This is an appetizer made of hollowed out jalapeno peppers that are stuffed. The stuffing is typically cheese with spices, and sometimes ground meat. The peppers are typically breaded and deep fried, but also sometimes wrapped in

No Bake Cheesecake

No-Bake Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of those wonderful desserts that just works. And it works even better with fresh fruit topping. The only problem is, when fresh fruits and berries are in season, it is typically too hot to make a traditional cheesecake. That’s why this no-bake cheesecake is just the ticket. And it’s a wonderful platform to highlight your favorite fruit of the season. I’ve tried a few different recipes for no-bake cheesecake. It’s probably no surprise that my favorite comes from Martha Stewart. Hers, to me, has a taste and texture closest to traditional, oven-baked cheesecake. Simply delicious😀. How to

Dunkaroo Dip, Funfetti Cake batter dip

Dunkaroo Dip (Funfetti Cake Batter Dip)

Have you heard of Cake Batter Dip? It’s a sweet “dessert” dip that starts with a box of cake mix,  and has many variations. The best one, in my opinion, is Dunkaroo Dip. Remember Dunkaroos? It’s a snack made by Betty Crocker, first launched in 1990. It consists of a snack-sized package containing cookies and frosting. As the name implies, the cookies are meant to be dunked into the frosting before eating. (Wikipedia) Dunkaroos were discontinued in the US in 2012 but continued to be sold in Canada until January 2018, at which point they disappeared there too. Rumor has

Image of Kool-Aid Pie

Kool-Aid Pie (3 Ways!)

The weather is warming up and that means we need another no-bake pie for summertime enjoyment! I crave sweet goodness but don’t want to heat up the kitchen with elaborate baked goods. Enter: Kool-Aid Pie. Only four ingredients, 15 minutes and some time in the fridge.   Kool-Aid memories My childhood summers involved a lot of time outside, a lot of it riding a bike with my friends. My trusty little dog, Esmerelda, would sometimes ride along in the basket on the handlebars. Eventually, we’d get hot, tired and thirsty. A sweet drink was in order. We’d stop at the

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Chicken Breast

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m just gonna say it: I love beets! Always have. I was raised on a farm and we grew beets so I understood the yumminess of fresh vegetables straight from the garden. Cook ‘em up, slather in butter — all good! Then came a new way to enjoy my fav veggie: Beet salad. So, of course, I was first in line! What’s in a name? In the US (and Canada), we refer to this yummy vegetable as a “beet.” But in many other parts of the world, it is called a “beetroot.” (Wikipedia) That’s somewhat more descriptive  since the vegetable

Vegetarian Caprese Quiche

Caprese Quiche

Let’s talk quiche, shall we? It’s a French word, but speaking French isn’t required. Just a good sense of taste. This Caprese Quiche has been a go-to breakfast for years in my house. There’s something about the fresh tastes of basil, tomato and mozzarella cheese that just sings “Spring!” to me. Readers of my blog know that I am Caprese crazy! I make Caprese Pasta Salad and Caprese Chicken. I even make a Caprese version of Avocado Toast. So, Caprese quiche? Obvi . . . What is this thing called Quiche? Quiche is a French tart consisting of pastry crust

Baked Pineapple Salmon on a plate

Baked Pineapple Salmon

Time for another salmon recipe. This, a wonderful discovery featuring an unusual taste accent and sauce for seafood. In this house, we default to lemon as the typical accompaniment for our salmon. But, I was in a “mood,” wanting to play outside the lines. So, my mind lighted on . . . pineapple? With salmon? Yes! I was firmly entrenched in a “Damn the torpedoes!” moment. So, carpe diem! I seized the day. HUGE surprise! This Baked Pineapple Salmon worked out amazingly well. It’s so affirming to try something unusual and have it work. It’s currently tied with our other

easy pasta sauce

Easy Weeknight Pasta

I stumbled upon this way to make easy pasta sauce many years ago and usually make it for a quick side dish with chicken breasts or a vegetarian option. The sauce takes less time than cooking the pasta. If fresh pasta is available, that’s even faster. Either way, it comes together in minutes, perfect for a busy weeknight meal. To start, get your water boiling for the pasta. Once the noodles are in the water, you can start the sauce. (Note: if using fresh pasta, make the sauce first) How to make the easy pasta sauce To make the sauce,

Greek Cucumber Salad

Greek Cucumber Salad

Greek salad: a healthy and easy salad, perfect for summer! I just love a simple Greek salad. Chop some veggies, mix a simple dressing and — done! Only five ingredients, plus spices. Not sure it gets much easier! What’s in a traditional Greek Salad? First, let’s look at what’s NOT a Greek salad. On most of your basic restaurant menus, a Greek Salad will be listed based on lettuce. It’s what we expect of our salads in America. But an authentic Greek salad contains NO lettuce. The ingredients are: Cucumber Tomato Onion Feta cheese Olives (Kalamata) See? No lettuce. No

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast: 13 ways

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Avocado Toast. Most of you have probably tried it. Here are a few variations to keep you from getting bored with this very healthy take on toast! First, a few ground rules. Start with some really good bread. Think whole grain, seedy, healthy. Words to live by: Good bread makes good toast. Next, pick a ripe avocado. Be sure to follow my avocado tips for cutting and storing your avocado. I generally use up to half an avocado per slice of bread. Avocado is very healthy, but the calories do add up. So, be

Baked corn tortilla chips

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

Fresh baked, homemade chips = Yum! I don’t know about you, but my first impression of a Mexican restaurant is based on its tortilla chips. Bringing that freshly baked, crispy, salty taste home is even better. Fantastico! How to make your own baked tortilla chips I’ve been trying for some time to make these at home, many attempts until I finally found the right combination of techniques. Tip: While this may take you a couple attempts to get it right, you can combine a meal and cooking chips. Very efficient. For instance, when I make Burrito Pie or Cauliflower Tacos

Derby Pie, Chocolate walnut pie

Chocolate Walnut Pie

For the record: This is not Derby Pie Several years ago, I was introduced to this pie by my friend, Julie. She told me “It’s Derby Pie, but you can’t call it that.” Huh? Turns out the name “derby pie” is a registered trademark of Kern’s Kitchen, the restaurant that first developed it. The recipe is a secret, I mean, a BIG SECRET, and the trademark is diligently (some say over-zealously) guarded. As of 2008 it’s estimated that the company has sued 25 times to protect the trademark. In May 2013, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group,

Pink Senorita, Seniorita, Pink Lemonade Margarita

Pink Señorita

Another Cinco de Mayo specialty! As we continue the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, Tuesday, May 5, I thought this recipe for a Pink Señorita would be perfect. This beverage is an alternative to traditional Margaritas made with a surprise ingredient: Pink Lemonade! I love Margaritas AND lemonade, so for me, this is combinación perfecto: a Pink Lemonade Margarita. Some lemonade factoids Little known factoid: Both lemons and sugarcane are native to India. That country gets credit for the creation of lemonade! Other little known facts: According to Wikipedia, there are two distinct types of lemonade: cloudy and clear. Clear

Burrito Pie

Burrito Pie

Burrito Pie is perfect for Cinco de Mayo (or any other day) I’m posting this in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, Tuesday, May 5, but really, Burrito Pie is one of those meals that works year-round. I make both meat and vegetarian versions to suit individual preferences, so you can take these recipes and adjust as preferred. How is Burrito Pie different from a regular burrito? Besides combining two disparate words (i.e. Burrito + Pie), there isn’t much difference. A burrito is a dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped into a sealed tubular shape

Potstickers Chinese Dumplings

Potstickers (Chinese Pan Fried Dumplings)

I’ve been on a Chinese takeout kick lately, have you noticed? First Egg Rolls, then Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl. I even make Chinese chicken skewers. Well, no Chinese menu is complete without Potstickers. For some, it’s the best thing offered. What is a Potsticker? It’s a type of Chinese dumpling cooked with a combination of frying and steaming. It is said that they were invented by mistake when a chef left his pan unattended too long and the dumplings  “stuck” to the pan. Turns out that fried dough makes the dumpling mighty tasty! Typically potstickers are filled with

Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl

Vegetarian Egg Roll in a Bowl

What IS an egg roll in a bowl? I know I’m not alone when I say: I LOVE egg rolls! The crispy deliciousness, the oil that warms the meat and vegetables – all the things that make egg rolls so unhealthy! LOL. Whatever health benefits one might search for in conventional egg rolls (let’s face it, there are only a thimble’s worth of vegetables) they are completely wiped out in the deep fryer. Even the meatless varieties contain just tiny servings of vegetables. So that’s why there’s so much to love about a vegetarian egg roll in a bowl. All

Homemade Egg Rolls

Homemade Egg Rolls

Easier than you think As I shared before, I took a Chinese cooking class a long time ago. It was a very casual type of class generously offered by my employer as a quality of life enhancer. My co-workers and I learned how to make stir-fries and other delicious dishes. The most useful thing I learned was how to make homemade egg rolls. Making egg rolls may seem intimidating at first – the filling, the rolling, the stir frying – but it’s actually quite easy. And homemade egg rolls are incredibly delicious and easy to customize to your personal preferences.

salmon with lemon dressing

Salmon with Whole Lemon Dressing

Salmon ❤ lemon! Today I have one more recipe for when life gives you lemons. Lemon on salmon is a classic combination. But it’s usually just a little squeeze of juice. This time, we will use the whole lemon to make Salmon with Whole Lemon Dressing. Sula ❤ salmon! I’ve mentioned before that I get my salmon directly from Alaska, courtesy of Sitka Salmon Shares. I love receiving those boxes of frozen vacuum-packed fillets and I’m always looking for new ways to use them. So I was happy to find a recipe from NYT Cooking which I lightly adapted for

lemon layer cake

Triple Lemon Layer Cake

When life gives you lemons . . . Today I continue the lemon theme with a Lemon Layer Cake. Like my Jelly Donut Cake, this recipe uses a box mix for the cake layers and spruces it up with a special lemon filling and lemon-cream cheese frosting. Lemony goodness! Make the lemon curd filling Pick your pan Please don’t overlook this important step. The choice of pan is important. I am very sensitive to “metallic” tastes, and the acidity of lemon juice can cause aluminum cookware to leach metallic aluminum ions into the sauce. Not only will the reaction create

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

When life gives you lemons Call it what you will: social distancing, quarantines, whatever. At first we all felt united to defeat a common foe. But as the days turn to weeks, many are beginning to feel a bit sour on the whole topic. Well, as the saying goes: when life gives you lemons, make . . . Lemon Meringue Pie! Lemon Meringue Pie is one of the first I learned to make, straight from the Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s perfect for beginners because it’s simple and produces such impressive results! I find the sweet-tart combination of sugar and lemon

Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza

With Easter coming, I think spring. And when I think spring, I think fruit. And when I think fruit, I think of fruit-based treats. For many years, it was my tradition to make a Fruit Pizza for Easter. It’s one of those great, easy recipes that everyone loves. And you don’t have to spend hours preparing it. After all, you need time to hunt for those eggs! There are many variations on this recipe. Some people add Cool Whip to the mixture of cream cheese, which sounds interesting but also kind of messy. Some use a homemade cookie dough recipe.

Strawberry Jelly Donut Cake

Jelly Donut Cake

Every spring, I crave strawberries. The craving usually hits before strawberries are actually in season. That’s why I love making this Strawberry Jelly Donut Cake. I get the taste I want from the strawberry filling without worrying about finding those perfect berries. The star of this cake is actually not the cake part. I simply use a box mix for that. What makes it great is the filling layer. I used my raspberry sauce from the meringue hearts recipe as a starting point, and revised it for strawberries. So let’s go through how to make that: Make the strawberry filling

bone broth

How to Make Bone Broth

Previously, I shared an easy way to make your own vegetable broth, which I use regularly. Today, we’ll tackle bone broth, a surprisingly healthy soup. What is Bone Broth? Bone broth is a highly nutritious stock made by simmering animal bones and connective tissue. What are the benefits of Bone Broth? The amounts of nutrients in broth are dependent upon the ingredients used, but in general: Bone: The bone itself yields minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Sodium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur and silicon are also present. Marrow: Bone marrow provides vitamin A, Vitamin K, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and minerals

Nicoise salad

Nicoise Salad

I love a classic salad, and this Nicoise salad certainly qualifies. It’s an easy dish that has many variations, which means you can adjust ingredients to suit individual taste buds. This version comes with a shallot vinaigrette which complements the flavors wonderfully. The origin of Nicoise salad? Let’s explore: Salade niçoise (French pronunciation: ​[niˈswaz]), is a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives and anchovies or tuna, dressed with olive oil. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century, and has been prepared and discussed by many chefs.

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. How to make Stromboli – meat version Traditionally, Stromboli is made with cheeses and cold cuts wrapped in dough. The dough can be pizza dough, but

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 completely different item from a salad. So ordering a taco salad made about as much sense as ordering a

roasted cabbage

Roasted Cabbage

I love roasted flavors! 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. Are you genetically geared to like or hate cabbage? 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,

Apple Pie for Pi Day

Apple Pie

Celebrate Pi March 14 Yay! Make an Apple Pie and be 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! What kind of apples are best for pie? Apple pies

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

Celebrate National Meatball Day 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. Where did meatballs come from? 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

Oreo Krispies

Oreo Krispies

National Oreo Day is something to celebrate! 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!” A few Oreo factoids Since this

Hoagie rolls

Hoagie Rolls

Make your sandwiches special with these 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. The smell of baking bread makes us kinder to strangers 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

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

Chili

Chili

The fourth Thursday in February is National Chili Day.  Kind of perfect because chili is perfect for February. Actually, in my house, I think The Carnivore would like to designate EVERY Thursday a chili day. But maybe that’s just him. Chili is one of those soups that anyone can make and everyone should try. There are so many variations, probably because of the many cultural influences. Though typically attributed to Mexican cuisine, chili also incorporates Spanish and Native American culinary traditions, as well as regional influences from across the US. No two chilis are alike, which makes it a perfect

Jambalaya

Simplified Jambalaya

When you say “Jambalaya” most people will smile and say they love it. But a lot of people don’t make it. Why? Perhaps because it sounds exotic and the ingredients are sometimes hard to find. Andouille sausage, for instance. Not widely available. So, many years ago, I set out to make my own easy version of Jambalaya using readily-available ingredients. I call it: (What else?) “Simplified Jambalaya” just to keep the purists from reacting to non-traditional ingredients. LOL. Jambalaya traditionally has 3 different meats: sausage, seafood, and chicken or pork. I use chicken, so we can check that box. For

Dutch Baby with Fruit and Raspberry Sauce

Dutch Baby

with Raspberry Sauce and Fruit This week is Mardi Gras, the beginning of Lent. And I thought a Dutch Baby recipe would be perfect for this week. Let me explain: Many of us have heard that “Mardi Gras” is also called Fat Tuesday. Do you know why? (No, it’s not body shaming). Fat Tuesday is the last chance to “feast” before the Lenten season, traditionally a time of fasting. However, few know that Fat Tuesday is also called “Pancake Day”(true!) so apparently we’re supposed to start our day with pancakes and keep gorging right through dinner! Tough job….somebody’s gotta do

Impeachment Margarita

Impeachment Margarita

(Im-Peach-Mint) February 22 is an interesting date. Not only is it George Washington’s actual birthday (as opposed to the “observed” day), but it also happens to be National Margarita Day. And for this year, what better way to recognize both those commemorations and a singular event of our times than with an Impeachment Margarita. No matter where you stand on impeachment (and “trials” that don’t call witnesses), we can take pride in the founding fathers who built safeguards – although imperfect – into our political process to bring the holder of the nation’s highest office to account. No matter the

Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup

Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup

I’m always on the lookout for new flavors, especially in soup. We all seem to crave a warm bowl of comfort soup this time of year, but don’t always have the hours for cooking. So any soup that  comes together in 30 minutes or less will pique my interest. Enter: Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup! This soup has a lot going for it: Vegetarian? Yes! Vegan? Yes! Gluten-free and dairy-free also! For those looking to embrace more “clean” eating, this soup from healthyfamilyandhome,is clean-tastic. The taste comes primarily from coconut milk mixed with spices: garam masala, cilantro, ginger and turmeric.

Sweet Cherry Pie

Washington Sweet Cherry Pie

Happy President’s Day! For some, a holiday. But for everyone, a chance to remember the visionary men who founded this country on principles of democracy, which we try to uphold today. And what better way to commemorate this day than with a pie? But not just any flavor, because – I cannot tell a lie – I love Washington Sweet Cherry Pie. Most every school age child has heard the story of six-year old George Washington, who received a hatchet for his birthday and proceeded to cut down his Father’s favorite cherry tree. When confronted, he reportedly fessed up: “I

meringue heart

Meringue Hearts with Raspberry Sauce

Meringue shells, also known as Schaum Tortes, were a staple of my childhood. On our farm we had a steady supply of eggs and cream so when the strawberries were in season these tortes were our go-to dessert. So simple: make a meringue shell and layer that with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream. Easy. And so delicious. I loved them so much I would sometimes just eat the shell, like a big oversized cookie. The shell is extremely light and airy. Beaten egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. Straight from my Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s the same way you

cheesy potato soup

Cheesy Potato Soup

You need this on a cold day Weather denial comes to a screeching halt in February: winter is definitely here! And some days all I want to do is curl up in a chair with a nice warm bowl of soup. This cheesy potato soup is perfect for that! Origins and ingredients I developed this recipe years ago, and started with something a little different: Broccoli Cheese and Potato Soup. I love that soup, but I wanted a “just potato” version. So I used the BC&PS as my starting point and fine-tuned it over the years. One thing you might

crust

Pie Crust Baking Tips

Making pies is an art. And learning how to make pies is a trial-and-error process. Take it from someone who’s experienced both the trials and the errors. Crust is a trick in itself. It tends to either burn or undercook. And, it sags, sogs, rips and plain wimps out. Part of the challenge is that there are so many different pies and so many crusts that accompany the pies. For instance, when I posted my pie crust recipe, I was focused on pumpkin pie. Those pies require an unbaked crust which is filled and all baked together. Others require a

superfood breakfast egg

Superfood Egg

One of the healthiest activities I’ve ever tried is joining a team wellness challenge at work. The program awarded points for various good health habits, like trying a new type of exercise. Or having a healthy breakfast within 2 hours of waking up. I was determined to get that one “breakfast” point each day, so I needed to create a meal I could enjoy and make quickly. From this, I created my superfood egg. I had a few personal requirements for this breakfast. First, I needed protein to keep me satisfied through the morning in order to resist the constant

Nutella fat bomb

“Nutella” Fat Bombs

February 5 is World Nutella Day and I couldn’t let that pass without recognition! Nutella is so good! Chocolate and hazelnut in spreadable form, what could be better? Well, before I give up my seat on the Keto Bandwagon I thought perhaps a keto version of Nutella fat bombs is in order. Now, if you read the nutrition label for Nutella the first ingredient is…sugar. Hmm… To state the obvious, if you’re on ANY kind of diet, this will be a problem. Lucky for us, there are now sugar-free alternatives. I found the original recipe for “Keto Nutella Bars” at

mushroom risotto

Mushroom Risotto

Happy February! It was just Groundhog Day. Did the little guy see his shadow in your area? This has always confused me because if he sees his shadow and gets scared, he goes back into his burrow and we have 6 more weeks of winter (therefore, no early spring). That puts spring at about mid-March, which, if you live in Wisconsin IS an early spring! And people wonder why Wisconsin is the largest consumer of brandy in the nation. But really, ever since Bill Murray did the movie “Groundhog day” it’s a term associated with living the same day over

Low Carb Chicken Noodle soup

Low Carb Chicken “Noodle” Soup

I started out this month with a spaghetti squash so it only seems fitting that I close with one more recipe using that cooked squash. In January I have focused on low carb recipes. And it’s National Soup Month and the height of cold and flu season so, of course, a low carb chicken noodle soup is what the doctor ordered! When making a low carb soup, caution signs appear for noodles. Too many carbs! The typical substitution is zucchini noodles, or “zoodles.” However, I wanted to use spaghetti squash as the noodle replacement (And I think spaghetti squash noodles