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 (Crock Pot Meal)

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 in puff pastry

Stromboli with Puff Pastry

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 Cranberries

with Broccoli Slaw and 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 good, but the real 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 lot more control over the quantity. Plus, I do

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

Easy Crockpot 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 Swiss Chard, 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,

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 – Instant Pot or Stovetop

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

Keto “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. Is Nutella keto friendly? 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

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

keto salmon patties

Keto Salmon Patties

I love salmon, and typically have a simple filet with a squeeze of lemon and green vegetable. But sometimes there are leftovers. And somehow, re-heating the filet is not the same. What to do? Salmon patties! As I’ve mentioned before, I am part of a salmon CSA from Sitka Salmon Shares , which guarantees I’m regularly eating healthy and reaping the benefits (hello Omega-3 fatty acids!). And just as regularly dealing with leftovers. Getting my salmon directly from Alaska ensures that it is wild-catch and sustainably harvested, supporting independent families, similar to small family farms that contribute to vegetable CSAs. 

marinated shrimp appetizer

Marinated Shrimp and Olives

(Playoff-worthy shrimp appetizer) This is the final week of the football season and I have loved doing an appetizer each week of the season. During these playoff weeks we expect our teams to “up their game” so our appetizers should follow suit! And for me, I’m going big with small: a shrimp appetizer! Now, you could just stick with cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce, a perennial favorite. But for playoff-worthy appetizers you can produce a snack with lots of wow and little work. The best kind 😏. I found this recipe at Taste of Home and – so easy! Start

strawberry fat bombs

Strawberry Fat Bombs

You’ve seen me rhapsodize about chocolate cream cheese bombs. Naturally, that led me to another favorite taste: strawberry. I thought the transition from chocolate to strawberry fat bombs would be relatively simple. And I was right, although it did take some experimentation. My first couple of approaches were unsuccessful. Something was missing. Somehow, the “strawbs” weren’t sweet enough. So I reached for a dependable, old school reliable: Jell-O! Sugar-free, of course, to keep things keto-friendly. The addition of strawberry Jell-O provided the added burst of flavor these strawberry fat bombs needed. Just as with the chocolate version, assembly is simple.

vegetarian spaghetti squash casserole in two bowls, red and yellow

Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Many times when I make spaghetti squash, I use only half of it for the intended dish. Ratatouille, for example. Somehow we manage to eat an entire batch of ratatouille and only use half a spaghetti squash to go with it. Half a cooked squash sitting in the refrigerator sticks out like a sore thumb. So, I began experimenting. This spaghetti squash casserole is one of the happy results. Ingredients needed Actually, the combination of ingredients was a result of cleaning out the fridge. Half a box of mushrooms, one zucchini and one green onion? Great combo! How to make

avocado fries

Avocado Fries

If you told me 10 years ago that I would absolutely LOVE avocado fries, I would have considered you crazy. But I really do love them, and in my quest for keto supremacy, I was led to making these “frites,” as the French call them. I’ve seen recipes several places. The one I follow is from tasteaholics. There are really only a few decisions involved in making this: 1) How many avocados would you like? 2) What’s your cooking method? And, 3) Dipping sauce or no? The original recipe is for 3 avocados, which makes a LOT of avocado fries.

cauliflower tacos

Cauliflower Tacos

When I first heard about cauliflower tacos I was skeptical, but once I tried them at a local restaurant I was really impressed. And, that wasn’t the only surprise I discovered with this recipe. Cauliflower provides such a perfect blank slate for flavors, and really lets the taco spices shine. And the fixin’s – mmm, best part. So many ways to dress your taco and make it your own. So I was delighted to see this recipe from Bon Appetit. I think I first made it 24 hours later. It happens to be vegan, which made me pause. As you

keto chocolate

Chocolate Cheesecake Keto Bombs

If you’ve heard of “Keto” then you’ve probably also heard of “Fat Bombs.” Some, who don’t like using the “f word,” call them “Keto Bombs.” That’s the curious thing about the Keto diet. We have been told for years that fat is bad. Now, the opinion-tide is turning and the consensus is that SUGAR is bad. And fat?  Maybe not so bad. The heart of the Keto approach is to ensure you are consuming fat instead of sugar (carbohydrates). Crazy, huh? I’m not an expert by any means. All I know is that limiting carbohydrates really works for me. I’m

keto crackers

Keto Snack Crackers

I’ve really been enjoying all the low carb/keto recipes I’ve tried out this month and REALLY love the results! But let’s face it, nothing delivers like a cracker. There’s the crunch and the salt . . . Can’t be beat! That’s where these carb-friendly, keto crackers come in. They only require two ingredients (plus water) and are incredibly simple to make. Win! I found this recipe at Kirbie’s cravings and love how it comes together. One caveat: it does call for a food processor to mix, and I have only made this using my mini food processor. So I cannot

keto pecan cluster

Pecan Clusters

Keto/Low Carb Most traditional approaches to losing weight follow a simple formula: eat less, exercise more. But in my case, the more I exercise, the hungrier I get! Sigh . . . So, it’s crucial for me to find snacks that satisfy my urges and stay within my dietary goals. That’s what I love about keto – I get to eat what I love! That includes yummy sweet treats like these Pecan Clusters, found at heyketomama.com. It’s one of the few keto bombs I have found that are not based on cream cheese (like chocolate or strawberry). Just think: crunchy

ratatouile

Ratatouille

If you like plant-based meals, here is a veritable vegetable feast! This Ratatouille (adapted from allrecipes.com) is as colorful as its name and so flavorful you might lose sight of its incredible health benefits. One thing about planning this dish is vegetable size. Ideally, the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash would all be about the same diameter. But, in the real world, almost impossible. Eggplants are big. I mean, like, watermelon big (Well, not that big, but they do get large). Ratatouille is a beautiful vegetarian delight. Combine eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini with red pepper and a light sauce

tuna salad boats

Tuna Salad Boats

Sometimes, an appetizer is just a different way of presenting favorites. Tuna, a fish food favorite (say that fast five times!) and the deliciously sour crunch of a pickle make a fast and easy tuna boat that will sail through the shoals of just about anyone’s tastes. And, if you tack carefully, you can make a tuna salad that will navigate your nutritional goals. Using water-packed tuna and low-fat mayonnaise, you’ll find smooth sailing and low calories. Greek yogurt boosts protein. And, the choice of full-fat, low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt give you the opportunity to ratchet up or down

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti Squash

Happy New Year! Anyone want to admit to a New Year’s resolution? One of the most common relates to dieting. My version: I want to weigh what it says on my driver’s license. 🤪 I am coming off a couple months, several months, oh let’s be honest, a whole year a stretch of over-indulgence, and it’s time to reset! Therefore, I will be focusing on low-carb choices this month, and spaghetti squash is one of my favorites for this. There are many ways to make spaghetti squash. The fastest by far is the microwave. I’ve tried this two ways: cut

Keto Cream Cheese roll-ups

Low Carb/Keto Cream Cheese Roll-ups (Pinwheels)

It’s almost a new year and for many of us that means new resolutions. According to Inc.com, the top 3 resolutions last year were: eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight. Sounds about right. It usually takes the first two to accomplish the third. And for me, the best dietary approach to promote weight loss is to shed carbohydrates. Low Carb and Keto Low-carb diets have been around for a while. But “keto” takes it to a whole ‘nother level. In the past, I avoided keto diets. My impression was that they were a version of Atkins, with an emphasis

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soup season is here With winter in full swing, I’m declaring it soup season! And this Chicken Tortilla Soup is not only warm and satisfying, it’s incredibly easy to throw together. Perfect for these busy days! Only 6 ingredients plus spices required Only six ingredients are required. One is cooked chicken. Disclosure: The original recipe on allrecipes.com calls for canned chicken. My personal preference: Cooked chicken. And it’s so easy. Leftover turkey from a holiday meal? PERFECT! Use that instead! And, if I don’t have any leftovers I just cook up some salsa chicken in my Instant Pot and shred

Hamburger Barley Soup

Hamburger Barley Soup

A hearty and satisfying soup Despite all the trends, old-fashioned comfort food is still a mainstay and this Hamburger Barley Soup is an old reliable. It combines some pretty common pantry items into a hearty and satisfying soup. I adapted this recipe from one on allrecipes.com many years ago. Before that, I almost never bought barley, but now I make it a habit to have it in the pantry. As well as V8, which I stock in the winter to make my beef stew. Other than that, you probably have the rest of the ingredients on hand right now. Barley

Salmon Dip

Salmon Dip

Today’s recipe for Salmon Dip includes a small lesson in French that I learned while making this. I thought I’d share it with you. No, you don’t have to wear Coco Chanel or Dior while making this, but – why not? This recipe  for a classy salmon appetizer is so simple you actually could wear your best. Perfect for the holidays when you get caught short and have to quickly improvise. Many salmon dips use smoked salmon, which is very popular. This one, from saveur.com, uses baked salmon, which I think gives it a fresher taste. Comme ci, comme ca

Butternut Squash Chowder

Butternut Squash Chowder

Sometimes recipes come from unexpected places. This vegetarian Butternut Squash Chowder is one of those. My daughter had pictures of a recipe card and directions from a friend of hers, who subscribes to a meal kit delivery service. The service sends you meal ingredients in the right amounts and step-by-step cooking instructions. If all the recipes are like this one, I might have to sign up! However, I did have two small problems with the directions. The first was that quantities were not given for all the ingredients. But that was pretty easy to figure out. The second was that

Dutch Oven Bread

No-Knead Bread (Dutch Oven Bread)

If you’ve ever made bread before, particularly the old fashioned way, you know you’re going to need this no-knead bread recipe. Throughout history, this food staple was a basic necessity, but it was labor-intensive. I have memories of my mom spending all day making bread. Lots of steps involved. It seemed like she was forever kneading the dough, covering it, letting it rise and then kneading it again. Now, there’s no “knead.” (See what I did there?) A scale and Dutch oven make this bread easy This recipe, courtesy of New York Times Cooking, is very easy. It does not

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

If you need a recipe sure to please, stuffed mushrooms work great. As in most of my recipes, I look for something that is easy and delivers great taste. That’s what I love about this recipe, courtesy of Pioneer Woman. Ingredients needed for these mushrooms stuffed with Brie Here are the ingredients: Mushrooms (duh 😀), Brie cheese, onions, parsley and garlic. Oh, and butter…don’t forget the butter. So good. I tried two different types of mushrooms for this: simple white button mushrooms, and Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms. I fully expected the Cremini mushrooms to win the taste test, but

Minestrone

Vegetarian Minestrone

Minestrone is a wonderful soup of Italian origin. It is primarily made of vegetables, however, it is common to also use a little cured meat as a flavor base. I have made this many times using pancetta, described as the Italian version of bacon, although some feel its more like ham. Anyway, this version, adapted from one found on All Recipes, is vegetarian and is only meant to be a starting point for your own special brand of soup. I have often seen that Minestrone translates to “Big Soup.” Online translators do not reproduce this, but per Wikipedia: “In modern

poinsetiia cookies

Poinsettia Cookies

Tis the season! Cookies and Poinsettias! So why not Poinsettia cookies? This recipe comes from a cookbook I’ve had for a long time called Short+Sweet by Gale Gand.  What caught my eye was a way to make pinwheel cookies, using pastel sugars and popsicle sticks. A cute idea for kids’ parties or any summer get-together. But the note about poinsettia cookies really caught my attention, and I knew this would be a great Christmas cookie. The dough is straightforward: cream cheese, butter, and an egg yolk creamed together. To this, mix in flour and baking powder. Once all the dry

grinch holiday appetizer

Holiday Grinch Kabobs (Grinch Fruit Kabobs)

Time for another cute holiday appetizer! Remember the penguins? If you enjoyed those little guys you’re gonna love these Christmas Grinch kabobs, courtesy of CNM Catering. How to make these easy Grinch Fruit Kabobs Contrary to their personality, this Grinch appetizer is sweet because we can’t let the Grinch bring us down. Right? This Grinch’s sweetness comes naturally, from fruit. A little more sweet plus the cute comes courtesy of a mini marshmallow. The hat? A strawberry works well, although strawberries can be a challenge to find this time of year. So I tried both strawberries and raspberries. Looking closely

Moscato Truffles

Moscato Truffles

The month of December brings a whole ‘nother level of busy to our lives. In addition to the typical hustle and bustle, we are expected to attend holiday parties, plays, buy presents and bake cookies. Time is at a premium, which makes this recipe for holiday truffles a life-saver. Or, at least a time-saver (So dramatic!) These no-bake treats can be made the night before and kept in the fridge. No one needs to know how little effort they required. The original recipe comes from delish.com. When I read the reviews, it seemed that more than half the people had

Puff pastry

Chicken (or Turkey) in Puff Pastry

I make this meal year-round, but it’s especially useful when you’ve got a bunch of leftover turkey. I adapted this recipe from Pepperidge Farm years ago. The original calls for cooking halved chicken breasts and then wrapping each in a piece of puff pastry. After making this many times, I found that I preferred using cooked shredded meat. Not only is it easier to assemble in the pastry, but it’s also much easier to eat. The fact that shredded meat can be plentiful after Thanksgiving or from any poultry meal makes it a huge bonus! No one’s going to call

Cream cheese holiday appetizer

Cream Cheese Penguins

These penguins are adorable There’s something about holidays . .  . I just love cute food! Fourth of July, Halloween, and now Christmas. It can’t be helped, just have to go with it! This Cream Cheese Penguin appetizer is suitable all winter, really, which, BTW, seemed to start this year in October (Where’s my fall?!). I found this holiday appetizer on allrecipes.com and – I can’t help it – just makes me laugh whenever I look at it. It combines two sizes of black olives, cream cheese and carrots to make the most adorable little penguins. If you want to

Cranberry Spritzer

Cranberry Sauce Cocktail (Cranberry Spritzer)

Happy Black Friday! (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) For some of us this is a day of (un)rest, right after Thanksgiving. If you’re not out shopping, you’re dealing with leftovers. In either case, this cocktail made from cranberry sauce (found at Thug Kitchen) comes in so handy. Aren’t we always looking for new ways to use leftover cranberry sauce? A cocktail is just a little different from a lot of the other recipes you’ve probably seen. So fun! How to make this cranberry sauce cocktail Do you have a cocktail shaker? That will make this easier. But if you don’t,

Pot pie

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

There’s one thing almost guaranteed after Thanksgiving: leftovers. Turkey sandwiches are very popular in my house. B-u-u-t, that gets old. So, I turn to turkey pot pie. I got this recipe years ago from a co-worker, and I think it was originally adapted from campbells.com, due to its use of canned soup. Pot pie has a somewhat checkered history; evoking those days of beer can pyramids and dry, tasteless frozen TV dinners. But this recipe redeems the humble pot pie, especially when home cooked. It’s a great way to use a bunch of leftover turkey – any poultry will work

Beer Cheese Dip

Beer Cheese Dip

I live in Wisconsin, the land of breweries, cheese factories and two of our favorite-est football teams: The Packers and the Badgers. So any recipe that combines beer and cheese during the football season has my attention. And what do we call such a recipe? Why, Beer Cheese Dip – as natural as a cheesehead at Lambeau Field. Now, I love a good Brie appetizer, but I know it’s not for everyone. And probably anything made with quinoa or feta cheese will scare off a few. Some think the ideal game time appetizer is beer and pretzels. Others say .

Cranberry-Apricot Sauce

Cranberry sauce, a staple of the holiday table, has frequently been the center of debate: jellied vs. sauce? This recipe, courtesy of Good Housekeeping, may tilt the argument in favor of sauce because it adds a new twist: apricot. You may be among those who already tart up your sauce with oranges. We’re keeping the oranges and upping the ante. Now, with apricots, we’re taking it, in Buzz Lightyear’s words, “To infinity and beyond!” To start, grate the zest from one orange (about 2 teaspoons). To a medium saucepan, add this plus the juice from two oranges. Then, add a