pepper steak

Pepper Steak

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Pepper Steak is a classic dish that warms you through and through on a chilly evening.  It is often described as “Chinese American” but it feels mostly American to me. I guess soy sauce as an ingredient qualifies it as a little Chinese? Either way, Pepper Steak is simple and satisfying.  I’ve made this many times in a slow cooker and recently adapted the recipe for Instant Pot use, for even faster and more convenient preparation. To start, beef is cut into strips. The recipe calls for sirloin, but I have used many different cuts

pico avocado dip

Pico-Avocado Dip

So you’ve got people coming over and you need a quick snack, a dip of some kind. And perhaps you’ve got some ingredients for Pico de Gallo and guacamole, but not quite enough. Tah-dah! Pico-Avocado Dip to the rescue! The beauty of this recipe is that the base, the Pico de Gallo, customizes so easily giving you free rein to substitute. No cilantro? Skip it! No white onion? Use yellow! Forgot to buy jalapeno peppers? There’s probably a can of chilis or jalapenos buried somewhere in your pantry. Once you make this a couple of times, you’ll get the hang

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

November 9 is the anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, a pivotal event in world history. It seems only fitting to mark this occasion with something German. My first thought was to make a sauerkraut meal (“Crickets, crickets. . .”). Then, I switched directions and got a much more enthusiastic reaction: German Chocolate Cake! (“Massive applause, standing ovation!!!. . .”). Ironically, this cake has nothing to do with Germany. In fact, it’s named after its English-American creator, Sam German. But we’ll go with it, anyway. I found this recipe at recipe-me.com and I like the way it came

meatloaf

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a classic meal that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention these days. Did it go out of style? Not in my kitchen. I’m feeding carnivores and meatloaf delivers the goods. In the old days, when I was feeding a family of four and working full-time, I would prepare the meatloaf mixture the evening before and stick it in the fridge. The next morning, I would place it in the oven and pre-set the timer to start cooking before I got home. That way, I could concentrate on side dishes during those precious minutes before serving dinner.

Feta dip

Lemony Whipped Feta Dip

If you like the distinctive taste of Feta cheese, then you will LOVE this Feta dip! With November here it’s time to up our game in the dip department. Be assured, this is not just a “game time decision” for football parties. This can be served any time. What I like is the “different” factor. Feta is not your standard cheese. It is designated a Protected Designation of Origin Product, meaning it can only be made a certain way and in a certain part of Greece to carry the Feta name. First, let’s talk about dip-ability (yes, I made that

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

When I started to move toward more plant-based meals, I knew pasta sauce would be an issue. Who doesn’t love a big old plate of spaghetti? Wonderful stuff. But vegetarian pasta sauce? Hmm. At a restaurant this typically means just a tomato (marinara) sauce to coat your noodles. Tastes great, but that’s a meal of 100% simple carbs. That will not satisfy an appetite, unless you’re training for the Iron Man. I wanted a better solution. My sauce had to be tomato-based, it needed protein and I really wanted veggies in there. I experimented with different combos and found there

queso dip on plate

Queso Dip

(Spoiler alert: Velveeta rant ahead) I think we can all agree: Cheese is a wonderful thing (Why aren’t there more poems to cheese? Are there any poems to cheese?). And it’s even better when melted. Here’s a formula for cheese success: Melty cheese + Tex-Mex flavors = Queso Dip = Delicious! The only problem with recipes for Queso Dip is that 90+% seem to start with a so-called “processed cheese product.” Hmm.. Another curiously bland marketing name for the same thing is, “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.” You know where I’m going, right? Two words: “Vel” and “veeta.” Look – I’m

Snickers Pie

Snickers Pie

With Halloween approaching, get ready for the fun part: leftover candy! If you’re serious about trick-or-treating, there are going to be extras. No one wants to be THAT house, the one that ran out of candy. For shame! So, stock up, hand out the Twizzlers FIRST, and ration the Snickers bars because you’ve got to try this recipe: Snickers Pie, found at thekitchenismyplayground.com. To start, you’re going to need 1½ cups of chopped Snickers bars. That equates to about 12 so-called “Fun-sized” bars. For the record, I think the LARGE candy bars should be called “Fun-sized,” don’t you? More candy

Monster Eye Cookies

Monster Eye Cookies

October means Halloween, so what better time to make Monster Eye Cookies? This recipe is courtesy of lillune.com and I can certify: THIS IS A KID PLEASER! Plus, it’s super-simple. Here’s the secret: Use cake mix for the dough. That makes short work of preparation leaving more time for the important stuff, like – (say it with me) – “Googly Eyes!!!” YAY! (Cue cheerleaders and University of Wisconsin marching band). To begin, beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla and an egg until fluffy. To this, add one box of yellow cake mix. That’s it. The basic dough is now complete.

Silly Apple Bites

These Silly Apple Bites are delightful to all ages. Go ahead, take a look and try not to smile.

Banana Bread sliced

Banana Bread

Anyone can make banana bread, and everyone should! It’s easy and delicious, and the “best-est” way to use bananas that become a little too . . . “mature.” I am the queen of overbuying bananas. I purchase four planning to have one a day, but by the fourth day the remaining banana is just too ripe for me. Problem: what to do with just one over-ripe banana? Solution: freeze it! Just throw the unpeeled banana into the freezer. Once I have at least three frozen bananas, I’ve got the makin’s for banana bread. (Note: Yukky part ahead.) When you thaw

Stuffed Peppers

Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Halloween is almost here and while costumes and candy distribution get top priority, don’t forget to have fun at meal time! I make stuffed peppers every year, and love to carve Jack O’ Lantern faces into each pepper. It takes only a few extra minutes and turns an everyday meal into a Halloween treat. Spooky good! For a meal as iconic as stuffed peppers, I turn to a trusted source: Betty Crocker. Betty tells us to make our stuffing from one pound of ground beef, one cup of rice, a garlic clove and tomato sauce. When the peppers are stuffed

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Halloween is coming so, of course, we need an appetizer! This Pepperoni Cheese Ball works great because, like all cheese balls, you can pick the shape. So go ahead and make a football for a tailgate party, but if you’re having a Halloween party, use your head . . . or skull shape instead. I adapted this recipe from sugardale.com and it’s a crowd pleaser. Almost all cheeseballs start with cream cheese and shredded cheese, but this one adds pepperoni and a packet of Italian dressing seasoning to rev up the flavor. Green olives are an optional add-in. I added

Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

As a child, I always turned up my nose to Split Pea Soup. Was it the color? Too bad, because I’m sure Mom’s soup was great: starting with a ham bone, cooked on the stove top; the whole bit. As an adult with wiser taste buds, I love this. However, I thought I could do it the way Mom did: purchasing ham on the bone, serving a “normal” meal of ham and then saving the bone thinking I could use it for soup. You know what? HUGE pain! My pot was too small for the bone and I had no

Beef Stew

Bloody Mary Beef Stew

This classic beef stew can be made in a Crockpot or Instant Pot to produce a delicious, warming stew for a cool weather meal.

mini bell peppers

Mini Bell Pepper Poppers

Turn mini bell peppers into a tasty appetizer or side dish for any Mexican-themed meal.

cilantro lime sauce

Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Sometimes all you need is a great sauce to take a dish from good to great. Some people like a little, others a lot, so a sauce on the side pleases all palates. The idea for this cilantro-lime sauce was inspired by Café Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo dressing. Like many others, I am a big fan of Café Rio. For those not familiar, Café Rio is a fantastic casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City. My daughter lives there, and a Café Rio visit is mandatory every time I visit. Hey Café Rio people: your brand would be HUGELY popular

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White Russian

A couple of interesting holidays this week. October 1 is National Coffee Day and October 4 is National Vodka Day. Hmm… combine coffee liqueur with vodka and – White Russian, anyone? This recipe comes from liquor.com, where the drink is described as “decadent and sophisticated.” It was created in the 60’s when someone added a little cream to a Black Russian. For those movie buffs and mixologists (aka bartenders), the White Russian had a bit of a “stodgy” reputation until “The Dude” re-branded it in the 1998 movie, “The Big Lebowski.” No bathrobe required here. It’s acceptable in any attire.

Cheese Ball, football

Cheese (Foot)Ball

I once saw someone refer to a cheese ball as the Brad Pitt of appetizers: always looks good, everyone likes it, and you’re always glad to see it. Sounds about right, yes? 😀 A cheese ball is quite simple and fun to make (certainly easier than getting Brad Pitt to your party) and easy to customize to individual tastes. This particular recipe is a product of combining my recipe cards with my mother’s. Cheese ball fun comes from forming it into different shapes. Of course, the classic round ball never goes out of style, but since it’s football season I

apple crisp

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is the perfect dessert during apple season! All the tastes of apple pie in a fraction of the time. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream and prepare for the applause!

caprese chicken

Caprese Chicken

This one-pot meal can be ready in under 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights!

apple dip

Apple Brickle Dip

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So dip that apple in something delicious for a tasty treat.

Meatballs

Make-Ahead Meatballs

Meatballs are pretty easy to make – so quick! But, there’s a way to launch your meatball dinners into hyperdrive by freezing the meatballs. Yes, you can freeze them (gives you chills, amirite?). Now you know the secret to the poetically named: Make-Ahead Meatballs recipe. And, here’s another plus: You can please everyone at the dinner table by making these morsels for carnivores and keep a portion of the sauce meatless for those who prefer it. The recipe is pretty straightforward with simple seasonings that complement a variety of sauces. The proportions are suitable for 1 ½ pounds of ground

Avocado Dip

Avocado Dip

This avocado dip comes together in 10 minutes for a delicious and healthy option! Serve it with tortilla chips or as a lettuce wrap for a low carb option.

Pancakes from scratch

Breakfast for Dinner

When schedules are crunched and there’s hardly time to think, much less plan a meal, don’t forget about breakfast. For dinner, I mean. And let’s face it: EVERYBODY loves pancakes. Oh wait – no pancake mix in the pantry? Worry not, pancakes are super-simple to make from scratch! This recipe comes from allrecipes.com and uses staple ingredients, which I always have on hand. It takes minutes to mix together and just a few more minutes for cooking time. The recipe says it serves four but let’s be honest … in my house it serves 2. Your results may vary. 😀

Salsa

Roasted Salsa

Tomatoes everywhere! Every farm stand, grocery store and farmer’s market is bursting with fresh, ripe, luscious tomatoes. Maybe you grow your own! If you are scouring cookbooks and the “Internets” to use these beauties, this is easy and fun. I found this in the August issue of Bon Appetit and although it took me three tries to get salsa the way I like it, that was the fun! Making salsa at home provides free range for individual creativity and preferences. For the first batch, I followed the recipe to the letter. The result was very “soupy” and so hot I

Oatmeal

Not your Grandmother’s Oatmeal

September 8 is National Grandparents’ Day. Have you ever heard the advice “eat like your grandparents”? This bon mot encourages us to step away from over-processed foods and hew to meals your grand- or great-grand parents would make. Good advice, but beware. Marketers have cleverly wrapped an old-time word around new products such as quick-cooking oats, steel cut oats, pre-sweetened instant oats, and oatmeal bars packaged to look like granola bars. I’m pretty sure Grandma would look at these with a curious eye. Some may be as nutritious, but when I see the added sugar and unpronounceable preservatives, I get

Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

Once Labor Day is over, the pace of life picks up: It’s back to school for the kids; it’s back-to-school shopping for the parents; there’s more traffic, longer lines at the stores. Time for a shortcut – and a nutritious energy boost. Energy bites, courtesy of allrecipes.com, are just the trick. They take minutes to make and are so tasty it’s easy to forget how healthy they are. Ingredients? Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, flaxseed meal, honey and vanilla. My granddaughter calls these “cookies,” and they really are like a cookie, only no flour, no butter and most importantly, no

taco dip, packers

Packer Party Taco Dip

This week marks the start of the 100th season of the National Football League, or NFL. I’ve lived and died through so many Packer games, it feels like a century. Traditionally, each year in the NFL, the first regular season game is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion (*Bonus question: Can you name that team?). However, this year, the season kickoff game will be fittingly played by, who else? the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears, one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. So, of course, a special game-day snack is required! With this dip, I am

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Salt ‘n Squeeze Slaw

It’s the end of August and recipes that take minimal effort without generating heat are super handy. This “cool” recipe, found in the August issue of “Bon Appetit,” fits the bill. It’s possibly the simplest way I’ve ever seen to make a slaw-type salad. Think of this as a technique as much as anything – it’s intended to be a mix and match of vegetables according to your preference and/or vegetable availability. For instance, I’m showing a combination of radishes and cucumbers. However, other combinations work, such as Napa cabbage and cucumbers, or red cabbage and red onion. So far,

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Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I love this time of year. It’s the time of the harvest and there’s such an abundance of fresh vegetables available. So many of these veggies can be purchased year-round but let’s face it, they taste best in season. For example, grape tomatoes, there’s a little extra sweetness in every bite. I bought them in bulk last week and snacked my way through in two days. This recipe has been heavily adapted from one of my America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks, and it takes the grape tomato from snack to salad while still maintaining a “star of the show” status. The

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Green Smoothie

Before I get into the makings for the Green Smoothie, here’s a reminder close to my heart: I’m a former dog(s) owner and August 26 is National Dog Day. If you share your life with (wo)man’s best friend, give your lifelong pal(s) an extra treat today. It’s also the “dog days of summer,” signaling the beginning of the end of summer. A quick and nutritious and non-stove meal (aka smoothies) always comes in handy. Smoothies, in fact, are a “two-fer,” combining “deliciosity” and nutrition. Typically low in calories and fat, it’s the perfect remedy for a guilty conscience (Raise your

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Tuna and Bean Salad

I’m a big fan of tuna salad, but when I want something different and lighter, Tuna and Bean Salad is a great option. This is a modified version of one found on nytimes.com. It uses tuna and white beans to deliver a healthy protein boost. And, the dressing enhances a light lemon flavor without adding tons of calories. The result is a salad that’s less than 150 calories, for one serving. And that’s perfect for lunch. Especially if eaten with some salad greens. Feeling hungry? Just have it all! The whole bowl is still under 300 calories and if you

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Sweet Potato Salad

August 19 was National Potato Day so, of course, a potato dish is needed. Plus, it’s August so let’s think cool. As in potato salad! And let’s give that old saw a new twist by using sweet potatoes! Technically, sweet potatoes are distant relatives of the everyday potato visitors to your dinner table, the red and white “taters.” Sweet potatoes are root tubers found in the company of beets, carrots and turnips. Whereas “regular” potatoes are part of the nightshade family, who count tomatoes, eggplants and peppers as family members. As any respectable bar food denizen knows, sweet potatoes are

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Roasted Baby Potatoes

August 19 is National Potato Day and even though we are smack dab in the middle of August and therefore certain to be hot, I can’t resist sharing my favorite go-to hot recipe for potatoes. Is there anything better than roasted red potatoes, crispy on the outside and creamy-good inside? I think not.  They remind me of a cross between a baked potato and a French fry. Irresistible! Red potatoes work so well for roasting: In addition to that lovely skin (no peeling required), the potato itself has enough starchiness to roast well. For this batch, I purchased a supply

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Pineapple Kiss

As mentioned before, August 16 is National Rum Day so I thought I’d better post at least one recipe using rum. And this one is super simple. It’s another one of those recipes that started with a restaurant menu. I took note of the description and played with the proportions at home. The final combination was perfect: sweet and refreshing with mild tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut. Perfect for a hot summer day, like a pineapple-flavored kiss on the shores of Maui. Enjoy!

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Kahlua Mudslide

There are so many recipes for ice cream drinks that use Kahlua. Many use a combination of liqueurs, but I wanted to keep it simple. The following is called the “Applebee’s copycat” by some, which implies that Applebee’s invented it, but I can tell you for certain that I made this drink long before I heard of Applebee’s. You see, I was in college (I told you it was a long time ago) and my roommate’s boyfriend went to Mexico for spring break. He came back with many bottles of Kahlua. So, a blended drink seemed the perfect option. As

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Kahlua Chocolate Cake

with Chocolate-Kahlua Frosting August 16th is National Rum Day. Right about now you are probably thinking, “What kind of summer recipes use rum?” Well, actually, there is rum in Kahlua!! So, it totally counts! Kahlua is a sweet, coffee-flavored liqueur that hints at dark chocolate, at least to me. The drink that always come to mind for me is Kahlua and cream. If you think about it (after a couple of these) it’s just an adult glass of chocolate milk, right? Coffee is a popular additive to baked goods to enhance chocolate flavor, so this Kahlua chocolate cake (found at

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Frozen S’mores Pie

August 10 is National S’mores Day. Now THIS is a holiday I can really get behind! In case you were abducted by aliens for 100 years and don’t know what a S’more is, I will explain: a S’more (short for “some more”, as in I want some more) consists of a roasted marshmallow with a layer of chocolate bar sandwiched between two pieces of Graham cracker. Yum! The Girl Scouts are commonly credited with this campfire treat, but there is at least one other person, a Presbyterian minister, who contributed to the treat because of his moral crusade.* *Little known

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Frozen Banana Bites

When my granddaughter came to visit this summer, I was looking for fun frozen treats to make. I tried a few Popsicle recipes, but they drew mixed reviews. Then, I struck gold. Or, chocolate. And bananas. Yes! Frozen banana pops! A winner! These pops have the shortest ingredient list ever: bananas and chocolate chips. I got fancy and made half white-chocolate and half chocolate-chocolate, but that is strictly optional. Oh, and the googly eyes. Very important. They’re optional, of course, but really, who can resist watching a 3-year-old place googly eyes on edible objects? Not me! (Googly eyes can be

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Guacamole

July 31 was National Avocado Day and probably everyone was surprised that I did not publish a guacamole recipe. Well, I saved it because this week the NFL begins the first pre-season football games of the year. In this house, on football Sunday, we call chips and dip “lunch”. To kick off the pre-season, let’s start with Guacamole. Originally from Mexico, the word guacamole is derived from two words in the Aztec language: ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce). So basically it is avocado sauce. We of course use it as a dip 😀 And it is a healthy dip! Formerly,

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Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

I’ve had today’s recipe on my radar for a long time. Finally, I tried it and my very first thought was – “Why did I wait so long?” followed by “How soon can I make this again?” It’s filled with the fresh flavors of just picked sweet corn and tomatoes paired with the creamy, healthy goodness of avocado. So easy and so amazingly delicious! Credit for this goes to skinnytaste.com Note: I have played a little with the proportions and find that I’m happiest with a bit more sweet corn so I bumped it up from the original 1 cup

Avocados!

July 31 is National Avocado Day so I thought I would share some general avocado tips to help everyone maximize their enjoyment of this wonderful fruit (yes, it is a fruit!). Tip #1: Ripening avocados For me, finding a perfectly ripe avocado is almost impossible. It happens about one trip in 20 to the grocery store, and then it’s usually when I don’t want an avocado that particular day! Instead, my approach is to buy unripe avocados, preferably not super green but at least starting to ripen. Then, at home, I place these in a brown paper bag, which I

Strawberry Shortcake Roll

Strawberry Shortcake Roll

Today’s recipe delivers all the wonderful flavors of strawberry shortcake: fresh strawberries, whipped cream and shortcake, in one package. I found this recipe on crazyforcrust.com and to my great distress the cake looked like a complete failure at one point. In the end, I snatched victory from the (hungry) jaws of defeat. Normally I wouldn’t post a recipe before getting it right all the way through, but people from the neighborhood Bridge Club are clamoring (“Clamor! Clamor! Clamor!”) for the recipe, and I am here to deliver! The aforementioned Bridge Club, is not named for a card game, but it

Grilled Margarita Shrimp

July 24 is National Tequila Day. I’m sure everyone is looking for creative ways to celebrate. A margarita is an obvious choice, especially delicious in slushee form on a hot summer day. But don’t stop there! Since you already have tequila on hand, make some margarita shrimp. Yes, there is such a thing and it’s delish! Also very simple. I originally found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. To start, marinate the shrimp in a mix of tequila and lime juice (sounds like a margarita to me!) as well as some Mexican-y spices. This step needs at least 30 minutes but can

Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Sometimes the mood for shrimp hits, but not the mood for making it. This recipe from skinnytaste.com satisfies both those needs by using pre-cooked shrimp to throw together a wonderful and healthy salad. The tastes of this salad remind me of ceviche, which is essentially raw fish cured in citrus juices. Ceviche is delicious, but sometimes the mental image of raw fish might spoil it for some. In this salad, the shrimp is already cooked, which makes it a perfect compromise. It takes very little time to assemble, and in the case of a rare leftover portion it is still

pie

Frozen Tropical Lime Pie

I wanted to bring to your attention an important holiday coming up. I’m hoping it’s marked on everyone’s calendar. Every year on the third Sunday in July our nation should set aside time to observe National Ice Cream Day. This year it’s July 21st. Should be a national holiday, right? Clearly, an ice cream pie is in order. This recipe is adapted from Pillsbury.com and features both lime sherbet and vanilla ice cream. The crust was the greatest challenge for me as I couldn’t figure out what kind of cookie Pillsbury asked for with the description “crisp coconut cookie.” So

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Lemonade Pie

Is there anything more refreshing on a hot summer day than lemonade? It’s tart, sweet, thirst-quenching (and I swear it cools body temperature) all at once. I love it! That made this recipe an easy choice: a no-bake pie with the flavors of lemonade. This is another super-easy pie that requires very few ingredients, and the result looks like you labored from dusk til dawn. Note: While this is not a labor-intensive recipe, planning ahead is essential since preparation for this cool confection includes four hours of defrost time for the Cool Whip (I ALWAYS forget this step) and four

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Creamsicle Pie

It’s mid-July, which means summer is definitely in full swing and we need some cool and refreshing desserts. But let’s not bake unless we have to; there are plenty of no-bake options to choose from. Everyone remembers Creamsicles, right? Or is it Dreamsicles? One site I found stated that one (Dreamsicle) is made with Ice milk and the other (Creamsicle) with ice cream, another said the word ”Dreamsicle” was created to emulate but not infringe upon the copyright of the Creamsicle. But basically Creamsicle is the brand name used by the makers of Popsicles (and I consider that a VERY

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Caprese Pasta Salad

I love the fresh flavors of a Caprese salad: mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic. So “old country.” A pasta salad version couldn’t go wrong. I adapted this recipe from one on Delish.com. Their version would feed a small crowd, but I was feeding two so I scaled it back, making most ingredients half of what was called for, with one exception: cheese. I used the same amount of cheese for half the salad. Why? Because (repeat after me) “There is no such thing as too much cheese!”   Looks right to me! In my opinion, what takes this

kebabs

Sweet and Sour Pork Kabobs

(Also known as “Kebabs”) The first formal cooking class I took (aside from Junior High Home Economics) was for Chinese cooking. It was the 1980’s and I worked at a hospital that offered sports leagues and enrichment classes to employees. What fun! My co-workers and I, all lovers of Chinese take-out, signed up to learn how to make it ourselves, and we had a blast. But the real winners were the guys playing basketball in the same building. They worked in various departments of the hospital, and felt comfortable showing up at the door the minute they smelled us cooking.

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Grilled Beets

With summer in full swing, a lot of cooking happens on the grill. But that doesn’t mean just meat. Many vegetables are both easy and delicious when grilled. One such is the beet. For many people, beets seem to fall into either the “love” or “hate” category. For me, I SUPER love (new category) beets (but not pickled, because I just don’t think you should do that to a perfectly good vegetable). You’ve heard of sugar beets, right? They’re called that for a reason: Beets are naturally sweet, due to their high sugar content. But here’s the magic: sugar +

chickpea salad

Chickpea, Carrot and Arugula Salad

Time for a great summer salad that provides plenty of protein and needs no cooking. Even better, it requires only 6 ingredients, plus spices. As a vegetarian main or a side dish, this salad delivers your veggies in a delicious package! This is another recipe from one of my favorites: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. It features chickpeas, arugula and carrots, plus Kalamata olives and a lemony dressing. Since this salad uses arugula, let’s detour a minute to my backyard. This year I decided to grow a few greens in some leftover empty pots. I filled each pot with soil and

Potato Salad

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

For the Fourth of July, you need potato salad.  Since you’re probably going to make some anyway, why not make it to celebrate the holiday? This post is simply a different twist on my Classic Potato salad. To make it fun for the Fourth, I use red, white and blue POTATOES! Have you seen these? They are typically sold as a “medley” of very small potatoes – usually about an inch in size. The advantage to this is that they are all about the same size, and there is no need to cut any before cooking – bonus! The small

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Red White and Blue Vodka Slush

This recipe is just pure fun. I wanted something relatively simple, but entertaining for the holiday, something that stands out, like – what else for July Fourth? – red, white and blue Vodka Slushies! I first thought of using three different beverages but quickly realized that the logistics were terrible: Make big pitchers and store them in the fridge? Who has that kind of room? I mean, we need some food at this gathering too, right? So, I decided to use a Vodka-Lemonade slush recipe found on Foodie Misadventures. Making these red, white or blue works like this: Red: fill

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Frozen Patriotic Torte

The Fourth of July isn’t one of those holidays associated with a certain food so much as a place: outside. The almost certainly warm holiday means eating outdoors is preferred. And you want something cold and refreshing. Layers of Jell-O? That’s one approach. This patriotic dessert seriously ups the game! This marvelous recipe is courtesy of the folks at wisconsincheese.com and requires no baking, just mixing and freezing. Perfect for a hot summer day! Picture this (or, just look at the photo): A white base of mascarpone cheese, whipped cream and pound cake, accented with blueberries and raspberries producing a

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Red White and Blueberry Crumble Bars

Here’s a red, white and blue version of a simple berry-crumble bar. I found this recipe years ago on Allrecipes.com, using blueberries. The notes said that any berry would work, so I thought why not strawberry? Better yet, why not both? By making this half blueberry and half strawberry, you create red, white and blue all in one 9×13 pan. (I’m counting the neutral-colored crust as white here) Simply mix up the dough ingredients and pat half of it into a 9×13 pan. The berries are mixed with some sugar and cornstarch and then added to the pan. The rest

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American Flag Taco Dip

I don’t exactly know why, but I simply LOVE to make red, white and blue food for the Fourth of July! When my kids were young, it was layered Jell-O. At some point, I graduated to layered cakes and other foods. No matter what direction I take, I always want to have at least one item with the right colors on July 4th and that’s why I have been eagerly anticipating this week leading up to the Fourth – and now it’s here! YAY! That is my theme from now until Independence Day – all recipes will have a red,