cranberry sauce bars on a green plate

Cranberry Sauce Bars

Since many of our holiday gatherings are a little smaller than usual this year, there’s good chance you’ve got leftover cranberry sauce. Here’s a new way to use it to make a delicious treat: cranberry sauce bars! Ingredients needed Cranberry sauce Egg Flour Sugar Butter Baking soda How to make these crumble bars filled with cranberry sauce This recipe is based upon my red, white and blueberry crumble bars I made for 4th of July. Like Thanksgiving, this is another strictly American holiday, now that I think of it. . . The red, white and blue version makes a 9

Vegetarian stuffed acorn squash with salad

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

As much as I enjoy acorn squash as a side dish, I like it even more as a complete meal. This recipe makes an easy sweet and savory filling to round out the flavor and make a healthy vegetarian main or side of stuffed squash. Perfect for Thanksgiving but also great all winter long! Ingredients needed Brown rice, cooked Vegetable stock Craisins Seasoned breadcrumbs Pecans Celery Cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or mix) Spices: onion powder, garlic powder, thyme Acorn squash How to stuff acorn squash with vegetarian filling Mixing the stuffing is very easy, especially if you have some leftover

acorn squash crock pot cooked arranged on a plate in a circle

Acorn Squash – Crock Pot Method

Acorn squash is a traditional Thanksgiving side, but since your oven is pretty busy that day it’s good to have an alternate cooking method available. Making acorn squash in the crock pot is so easy I doubt I’ll use my oven again! Ingredients needed Acorn Squash Butter Brown sugar How to cook acorn squash in a crock pot The first step, of course, is to cut the squash and remove the seeds and membrane. Before you cut, decide how you want to serve the squash. If you plan to serve a bowl of whipped/pureed squash, then you only need to

turkey meat and cheese tray

Turkey Shaped Meat and Cheese Tray

One of the easiest and most popular appetizers is a simple meat and cheese tray. Or cheese and sausage, if you will. But with a little planning to your presentation, that simple collection of cold cuts can form a turkey shape on your platter. So fun and perfect for Thanksgiving! Ingredients Bread – one slice to make the “body” Cold cuts – I used salami and pepperoni Cheese – I used 2 types, deli sliced, one white and one orange Crackers – I recommend an oval shape How to make your meat and cheese platter in a turkey shape I

Cranberry sauce in a bowl

Cranberry Sauce from Dried Cranberries

Cranberry sauce is a staple for any Thanksgiving meal. But what if you can’t find fresh cranberries? No problem – you can make your cranberry sauce from dried cranberries! No one will know the difference! Ingredients needed Dried cranberries, sweetened (Craisins) Cranberry juice Sugar 1 orange, juiced and zested Salt Cornstarch for thickening How to make cranberry sauce from dried cranberries I was really surprised at how easy it is to make cranberry sauce using dried cranberries. It’s actually very similar to using fresh cranberries. Unlike my cranberry-apricot sauce, this one only needs the juice of one orange. More liquid

turkey cheese ball surrounded by crackers

Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving

It’s time for a fun appetizer for Thanksgiving! And my most popular October post is the skull cheese ball, so I decided a turkey shaped cheese ball is exactly what I need! Ingredients needed If you have a favorite recipe for a cheeseball, of course you can use that one. I used my Halloween skull cheese ball as a starting point but made a few changes. One, I omitted the olives and pepperoni to simplify and keep it vegetarian. Two, I made it softer, by substituting whipped cream cheese for one of the blocks of cream cheese. I also reduced

bowl of brussels sprouts and carrots

Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

I love my veggies, and sometimes I just need a simple way to prepare them. This combination of Brussels sprouts and carrots delivers simplicity and taste. Plus, it’s made on the stove top which is super convenient for those times when the oven is already taken! Ingredients needed Brussels sprouts – 1 pound Carrots – 1 pound Shallot – 1 medium Butter Apple cider vinegar Salt, pepper and water – do these count as ingredients? 😀 How to make these carrots and Brussels sprouts This veggie side dish comes together very quickly. To start, cook the shallot in butter for

party mix with bugles close up

Ranch Party Mix – with Bugles

No matter what kind of gathering you have, a party mix is always well received. I like mixes with a little “something for everyone” with a variety of flavors and textures. This no bake version delivers, with goldfish crackers, pretzels and bugles, all seasoned with the flavors of ranch. Delish! Ingredient list – full recipe Mini pretzels (10 ounces) Bugles (12 ounces) Goldfish crackers (6 ounces) Cashews (10 ounces) Dry ranch mix (1 envelope) Canola oil (1/2 cup) How to make this ranch party mix Nothing could be easier than this. Basically, mix everything together and serve. LOL. You will

chili lime shrimp in a bowl with quinoa kale and avocado

Chili Lime Shrimp

In the mood for some seafood? Me too! Shrimp is one of my favorites: it’s healthy, tasty and so fast and easy to cook! I was looking for a little Tex-Mex flavor so decided on chili lime shrimp, and with that I built a delicious protein bowl. Ingredients for chili lime shrimp There are many ways to make chili-lime flavors but I really like the simple approach, so instead of coming up with a combination of chili powder and a bunch of other stuff, I rely on the Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning to do most of the heavy lifting,

Roasted Swiss Chard with Parmesan

I recently stumbled upon a small farmer’s market that seemed to be thriving in the midst of social distancing. Of course, I had to stop, intending to buy one or two veggies but ending up with a car full. One item I find hard to resist is swiss chard. Especially the rainbow variety. All that dark leafy green nutrition on top of multi-colored stalks. So beautiful! But greens are not just for salads. Like so many other vegetables, Swiss chard is delicious when roasted! Ingredient list Swiss chard, any variety Onion, yellow Olive oil Parmesan cheese, shredded Salt and pepper,

keto taco casserole side view

Keto Taco Casserole

Sometimes I just crave some Tex-Mex flavors. But it can be tough to make the meals in low carb form. My version of Mexican food typically involves a bunch of chips, tortillas, beans, etc. All super yummy and super high in carbs. So when I found a keto taco casserole, I knew I had to try it. All my favorite flavors in a low carb package? Sign me up! Ingredients Ground beef Onion Garlic clove Bell pepper Taco seasoning Eggs (2) Shredded cheese (Mexican blend) Optional toppings: sour cream, tomatoes, green onions How to make this keto taco casserole Start

Keto Chocolate Mug cake on a wood background

Keto Chocolate Mug Cake

I think we have all heard of a Mug Cake, correct? It’s an ingenious way to make a single serving of cake, and ready in minutes. This is perfect for someone who is cooking for just themselves and don’t want an entire cake tempting them for a whole week. Or maybe you just want a dessert one day, a cheat day if you will, and then you intend to treat your body like a temple for the rest of the week. In all these situations, a mug cake is definitely your friend. But what if you are maintaining a low

caramel apple cider vodka cocktai;

Caramel Apple Cider (Vodka Cocktail)

Don’t you just love fall? The cool crisp air, the beautiful colors of leaves, and all the flavors unique to the season. One of my favorites is apple cider, a delicious fresh beverage that is always best in fall. Apple cider vs apple juice – what’s the difference? Apple cider is the term used in the US and Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. (Wikipedia) Liquid is extracted from the apples, and is typically cloudy appearing due to the presence of fine apple particles in suspension. It is traditionally considered a “fresh” beverage but all US

group of rice krispie treats decorated as ghosts

Halloween Rice Krispie Treats – Ghosts!

I’ve been visiting my daughter which means I get to spend time with my favorite little kitchen helper. And it’s October so I really felt something with a Halloween vibe was in order. But nothing too complicated, just everyone’s favorite: Rice Krispie treats! So easy to make, and turned into ghost shapes for Halloween. Ingredients needed for Halloween Rice Krispie treats Butter Rice Krispies cereal Marshmallows How to make Rice Krispie treats I use the original recipe for Rice Krispie treats, right from the box. Well, actually I think the ORIGINAL recipe had a little bit more butter. Or maybe

keto whipped cream on a spoon

Keto Whipped Cream

If you are enjoying a delicious keto dessert, a dollop of whipped cream can only make it better. Make this keto whipped cream to keep your macros in line with your goals! Ingredients needed Heavy whipping cream Confectioners (powdered) sugar substitute (I used erythritol) Vanilla How to make keto whipped cream Place heavy whipping cream in a chilled bowl. Begin beating with an electric mixer on low speed. Whip for about 30 seconds or so, until the cream is starting to increase in volume and look a little “frothy.” Turn speed up to medium to medium-high and continue whipping. After

no bake keto cheesecake on a plate with berries sauce and whipped cream

No Bake Keto Cheesecake

No bake cheesecakes are easy, fast and fun to make! But the carbs really do add up. Here’s a keto version, made by using erythritol in place of the sugar and an almond flour crust. Indulge your sweet tooth while controlling your carbs! Ingredients needed for this keto no bake cheesecake For the crust: Almond Flour (extra fine) Powdered sweetener (I used Swerve) Butter For the filling: Cream cheese (16 oz) Powdered sweetener Sour cream Heavy whipping cream (1/2 cup) Lemon juice – fresh squeezed Vanilla How to make this easy sugar free keto cheesecake I adapted this recipe into

Keto Raspberry sauce in a small white bowl

Keto Raspberry Sauce

Today I bring another way to follow a low carb diet without giving up all desserts and treats! No matter if you are following a keto, dirty keto, or just plain low carb diet plan, it is pretty tough to find a way to deal with the urge for dessert. This keto raspberry sauce goes a long way to help with that! Ingredients needed Sugar free jam – raspberry or strawberry Raspberries – fresh or frozen – 9 ounces This sauce is based on my regular raspberry sauce which I used for meringue hearts. I intended to make it using

Keto beef stew in a white bowl

Keto Beef Stew

Today I have another of my classic recipes that I experimented with to make a lower carb version. I started with Bloody Mary Beef Stew and created Keto Beef Stew. Just as yummy, with significantly fewer carbs! Ingredients needed Beef – I usually buy stew meat but a chuck roast works well also, if cut up Beef stock Tomato paste Parsnips – I use these to substitute for the carrots Turnips – substitute for potatoes Onion – yellow usually Carrot – just one, and this is optional (see below) Worcestershire sauce Spices: garlic powder, dried thyme, dried marjoram Bay leaf

butternut squash spaghetti bake on a white plate with salad

Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake

I love pasta, but also love it when my jeans fit. 😀 So it’s always a good idea to have some pasta substitutes around for when the craving hits. This one uses spiralized butternut squash baked with a simple spaghetti sauce. It’s delicious! Ingredients needed Butternut squash noodles (frozen 12 oz package) Zucchini noodles (frozen 12 oz package) Ground beef (1 pound) Olive oil (for browning beef) Marinara sauce (24 oz ) Garlic cloves (2) Shredded cheese, 2 cups (Italian cheese blend or mozzarella) Seasoning: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning How to make this Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake Like most casseroles,

Sauteed mushrooms and onions in a pan

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

If you need a fast and easy side dish to complement any meal (don’t we all?) sauteed mushrooms and onions are an easy choice. They only take about ten minutes and can be served with just about any meal! Ingredients needed Mushrooms – white button mushrooms work fine, cremini work great as well Onion – one yellow, adjust size according to your love for onions Olive oil and butter – for frying Garlic clove Cooking sherry or a sweet white wine Tamari or soy sauce How to make sauteed mushrooms and onions Start with some olive oil and butter in

cheesy cauliflower rice with broccoli on a red plate

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

When following a low carb or keto meal plan, side dishes can feel like a challenge. Noodles are out, rice and potatoes – nope. Sometimes I think I’ve been programmed to expect a starch with every meal. Which is of course what we are avoiding. Enter cauliflower rice. Does it taste like rice? No, it still tastes like cauliflower. But cauliflower + cheese = delicious! And for the vegetable-leery in your house, cauliflower in riced form is less in-your-face “I’m a vegetable”, if you know what I mean. Plus, when you make it into Cheesy Cauliflower Rice, what you are

Bowl of keto coleslaw on a wicker placemat

Keto Coleslaw

When you’re trying to cut carbs, its useful to know whether you can modify some of your standby recipes to make them sugar free. Sometimes, it’s just not going to work. But when you find one that does work, you feel like you’ve struck gold! That’s how I feel about this keto coleslaw. Is coleslaw keto friendly? Regular coleslaw is not keto friendly, because the dressing contains sugar, the ultimate simple carb. However, what I discovered is that my simple creamy coleslaw dressing translates very easily to keto with one simple change: replace the sugar with erythritol. The first time

Medicine Ball tea in a clear cup

Starbucks Medicine Ball Tea (Copycat – Medicine Bomb)

September is here, which traditionally means back to school. And somehow, that always seems to translate into the beginning of cold and flu season. I’m willing to bet that this will still be true, even in a social distancing world. When my children were little, I swear they were just mobile Petri dishes, happy to share their germs with every other kid in their orbit. What is Medicine Ball tea? Lucky for us all, an enterprising barista at Starbucks came up with a drink called the “Medicine Ball” which is intended to help us all fight the common cold. Several

zucchini and beef casserole on a small white plate

Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef

I have one more recipe for all you gardeners with a zucchini surplus. This time, I combined the zucchini with ground beef to make a casserole. Because we all need easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights! Ingredients needed I had a couple priorities with this casserole. Keep it low carb was one, so that means no rice or pasta. I also wanted to avoid using a can of soup, but still wanted a simple ingredient list. I was delighted when I was able to accomplish all these goals. The primary ingredients are of course ground beef and zucchini. The “sauce”

grilled broccoli in foil packet on a plate

Grilled Broccoli in Foil

When I look at the calendar and see the word “September” I feel that summer is basically over. The autumnal equinox isn’t until September 22, so technically it is still summer in the northern hemisphere. But school is back in session and the leaves on my walnut tree are starting to fall. Summer is ending, for sure. But before I cover up the grill for the season (ok, that’s actually not going to be for a couple months) I had to share one more grilled veggie:  grilled broccoli in foil. You’ve seen my other grilled veggie posts, right? I’ve grilled

spinach added to sun=dried tomato pesto chicken sauce

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

It’s time for an easy and delicious recipe that combines chicken with sun dried tomato pesto in a creamy pasta sauce. Start the pasta while making the sauce and you will be ready to serve this in about 20 minutes! What kind of chicken is needed for this recipe? There are different versions of this recipe floating around, most using chicken breasts. I started out making this with chicken breasts and worked on the sauce. But after a few tries I realized that this sauce is ideal for using cooked shredded chicken. So now I either use leftover shredded chicken

2 Bacardi mojitos

Bacardi Mojito

Today I am celebrating. My little corner of the Internet has reach a milestone. What you are currently reading is . . .  drumroll please! . . . post number 200! Why only yesterday, I was on post number 100. (Cranberry Spritzer, in case you were wondering.) Busy with recipes and posts (and the occasional family visit), I sometimes lose track of time and place. All I can say is, thanks to the many who’ve been so supportive! Clearly, a cocktail is required. Throughout the summer, I’ve been growing a big pot of mint, and because it’s calling to me,

6 smoothie popsicles on a white plate

Smoothie Popsicles

Just before my daughter came to visit this summer, she informed me that she was cutting food dyes out of her 4-year-old’s diet. “Please plan accordingly.” In preparation for this visit I had of course stocked up on large quantities of Jell-O, sprinkles and colored sugar. All were instantly obsolete. She also shared that she had found some healthy popsicles that were very popular in her house and described them to me as containing Greek yogurt and fruit. I knew instantly that I could make my own version: smoothie popsicles. What ingredients are needed to make smoothie popsicles? I love

Zucchini and corn fritter stacked on a plate

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

We are still in “zucchini season” so it’s time for another zucchini recipe. This time, I’m combining zucchini with corn to make a delicious fritter. When zucchini’s in season, it is abundant! I covered this pretty thoroughly in my zucchini and yellow squash post, but to recap: zucchini plants produce fruit, it grows rapidly, gardeners pick often, the plants produce even more zucchini. Most gardeners rely on friends and neighbors to take some of the produce off their hands. So, all the gardeners AND all their friends are looking for ideas to use up all the zucchini! Combine sweet corn

skewers cooking on the grill

Beef Kabobs in the Oven or Grill

There’s something about cooking your meal on a stick that is just so fun! It cooks quickly, looks colorful, and is easy to eat. Traditionally we think of making kabobs on the grill, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate it’s good to have an oven method handy. That’s why today I am making my beef kabobs in the oven, but also including instructions for the grill. It’s all about the beef marinade Anyone can stick hunks of meat and/or veggies on a stick and cook it. But to really get great flavor and texture, a good marinade is key. Over

Zucchini and yellow squash on a plate

Zucchini and Yellow Squash in the Microwave

It’s August and anyone with a garden tends to be overflowing with summer squash by now. So I bring a simple way to make zucchini and yellow squash in the microwave. This recipe will help break up your routine a little, yet it is still easy to make, which is perfect for these hot days of August. Why is zucchini so prolific? Zucchini is considered one of the easiest plants to grow in a garden. In addition, its production is cyclical, meaning the more you harvest, the more the plant will produce (harvestright.com). As my friend Dawn told me, “when

baked potato on a plate

Baked Potato on the Grill

I love a good baked potato, yet I have always considered it “winter food.” But, because a baked potato is great with many things, it can easily be transformed to year-round food by throwing it on the grill. How to grill a baked potato Start by prepping the grill and potatoes. Preheat the grill using medium-high heat. The target temperature for inside the grill cover is 400-425F. Allow 10-15 minutes for the grill to get nice and hot. While the grill is warming, prep the potatoes. Russet potatoes are the classic choice, because their high starch content creates a light

Orange Creamsicle cocktail

Orange Creamsicle Cocktail

It’s time for a dessert. But in liquid form. Dessert drinks can be so fun! And this one is fun, for sure. An Orange Creamsicle Cocktail. Or a Creamsicle martini, if you prefer. It’s delicious, no matter what you call it. Creamsicle vs. Dreamsicle Speaking of the name debate, does everyone remember the Creamsicle vs. Dreamsicle discussion? I researched the names when I made my Creamsicle Pie, and determined that since the Popsicle people use the term “Creamsicle” it must be the most accurate. Although, I do think that for an alcoholic drink, the term “Dreamsicle” might be a little

Chickpea avocado salad side view

Chickpea Avocado Salad

I am always looking for simple healthy salads in the summer, especially those containing plant proteins. So, a salad that includes chickpeas and avocados will always get my vote! Chickpea salad made simple This gluten free salad was inspired by one found at Forks Over Knives. But I must confess, I changed so much that the only ingredients it shares with the original are avocado and chickpeas. I did manage to avoid adding cheese, so it remains a vegan salad for maximum health points. It’s a simple salad, with simple instructions. Start by draining and thoroughly rinsing the chickpeas. Place

Vegetarina Baked Beans on a plate

Vegetarian Baked Beans

I have always loved baked beans in a thick sweet sauce. It’s a universal side dish during grilling season, and a welcome addition to any backyard barbeque. I’ve been trying to make my own vegetarian version — without pork — for years and have finally found a combination of flavors that works for me. This makes them vegan, since no animal products are required. Ingredients needed for these vegan baked beans Beans – clearly the main ingredient. I use canned beans for convenience, and 3 different types to give that “calico” bean appearance and some variety in texture. My preferred

Ina Garten's Fesh Corn Salad

Corn Salad

Every time I look at one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks, I think “Now, why didn’t I name myself something like The Barefoot Contessa?” I really think I could’ve pulled it off! Ina has some fun recipes, and one of these is her Fresh Corn Salad, a fantastic way to take advantage of the amazing fresh flavor of sweet corn while it’s in season. A big plus for this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. You can put it all together and let it chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the rest of your

Toll House Brownies

Toll House Brownies (Double Chocolate)

For a chocoholic, there is perhaps no bar more perfect than a brownie. What’s not to love? Crackly edges and a slightly fudgy middle. Certainly, you can use a mix, but I personally feel that making brownies from scratch is almost as easy. Is this a copycat Nestle Toll House Brownie recipe? This recipe is not a copycat. It’s an actual copy of the original. Nestle used to print this recipe on the back of Toll House chocolate chips, right next to their chocolate chip cookie recipe. Thankfully, I cut this from the bag long ago, because at some point

chicken legs on the grill

Chicken Legs on the Grill

Again I am cooking on the grill! Today, some BBQ chicken legs. So many people seem to migrate to white meat whenever eating any type of poultry, but I prefer dark meat. It’s moist, tender and has more flavor, IMHO. Why chicken legs, not drumsticks or thighs? Both drumsticks and thighs are fine. This recipe works with all parts of the leg because we cook to an internal temperature, not a specific time. I decided to cook whole legs – drumstick with thigh attached because they’re a healthy portion. These are sometimes referred to as chicken quarters. Pick whichever piece

Grilled stuffed tomatoes

Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes

It’s July and it is HOT. So, I’m trying to keep the house cool. That means my grill and I have become best buds as we conspire to cook everything possible on the grill! I especially love to find vegetarian items to grill, such as beets, zucchini or asparagus. In this chapter of Keep the House Cool, we will select the right tomatoes, we’ll stuff ‘em and then grill ‘em. Easy! How do you prep a tomato for stuffing? If you have ever stuffed bell peppers, you already know how it’s done. Cut a slice from the top, scoop out

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, even Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes, 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.

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 Creamy Jalapeno)

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

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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