Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

A nutritious snack 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, adapted from 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 needed for energy bites Ingredients? Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, flaxseed meal, honey and vanilla. My granddaughter calls these “cookies,” and they really are like a cookie, only

taco dip, packers

Packer Party Taco Dip

Perfect for football season 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! Everyone

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Salt ‘n Squeeze Slaw

We need simple salads It’s the end of August and recipes that take minimal effort without generating heat are super handy. This “cool” recipe for salt and squeeze slaw, 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. How to make Salt ‘n Squeeze Slaw 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

Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I love tomato season 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 are available 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. Tomatoes are the star of this Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad This recipe his heavily adapted from one of my America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks. It takes the grape tomato from snack to

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Green Smoothie

Perfect for the dog days of summer 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. A green smoothie is nutritious and delicious Smoothies, in fact, are a “two-fer,” combining “deliciosity” and nutrition. Typically low

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Tuna and Bean Salad

A no-mayo tuna 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

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Sweet Potato Salad

A different kind of 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! Are these really 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.

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Roasted Baby Potatoes

A good way to celebrate National Potato Day 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 baby 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! What type of potatoes for roasting Red potatoes work so well for roasting: In addition to that lovely skin (no peeling required), the potato

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Pineapple Kiss

As mentioned before, August 16 is National Rum Day so I think it’s time to post at least one recipe using rum. And this Pineapple Kiss 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! Some pineapple facts Did you know? The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with an

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Kahlua Mudslide

Some call this a copycat 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 Kahlua Mudslide 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. (Let’s just say,

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Kahlua Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Kahlua Frosting

Perfect for National Rum Day August 16th is National Rum Day. Right about now you are probably thinking, “What‘s this got to do with chocolate?” 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? Start with a box mix and add to it Coffee is a popular additive to baked goods

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Frozen S’mores Pie

Every day should be National S’mores Day August 10 is National S’mores Day. Now THIS is a holiday I can really get behind! With a Frozen S’mores Pie! 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,

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Frozen Banana Pops

Kid-friendly frozen treat 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! Super short ingredient list 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

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Guacamole

Guacamole is everyone’s favorite with chips 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). (Wikipedia)So basically it is avocado sauce. We of course use it as a dip 😀 Guacamole

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Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

Don’t delay – you must try this 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 Corn Tomato Avocado Salad goes to skinnytaste.com How to make Corn Tomato Avocado Salad Begin by steaming the corn. I use the microwave for this

Avocado Tips for Success

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!). Avocado 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

Strawberry Shortcake Roll

Strawberry Shortcake Roll

Everyone loves strawberry shortcake 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. This Strawberry Shortcake Roll was a Bridge Club hit! 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!”) for the recipe, and I am here to deliver! The

Grilled Margarita Shrimp

Celebrate National Tequila Day 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 grilled margarita shrimp. Yes, there is such a thing and it’s delish! Also very simple. I originally found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. How to make Grilled Margarita Shrimp To start, marinate the shrimp in a mix of tequila and lime juice (sounds like a margarita to me!) as well as some

Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

No need to cook for this 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 Lime Shrimp and Avocado 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

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Frozen Tropical Lime Pie

Perfect for National Ice Cream Day I wanted to bring to your attention an important holiday coming up. One that is screaming for this Frozen Tropical Lime Pie. I’m hoping the day is 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. How to make Frozen Tropical Lime Pie This recipe is adapted from Pillsbury.com and features both lime sherbet and vanilla ice cream. The crust

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Lemonade Pie

Lemonade is for summer 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! No-bake pies are an easy choice 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 Lemonade Pie is not a labor-intensive recipe, planning ahead is essential since preparation for this cool confection includes four hours of defrost time

creamsicle pie

Creamsicle Pie

Delicious no-bake Creamsicle pie for summer 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, starting with Creamsicle Pie. Creamsicle or Dreamsicle? 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

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Caprese Pasta Salad

The fresh flavors of Caprese in a 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. Did you know? Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil. It is occasionally paired with arugula. The usual presentation is an arrangement on a plate. Like “Pizza Margherita, it features the colours of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. In Italy, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not

kebabs

Sweet and Sour Pork Kabobs

(Also known as “Kebabs”) For the love of Chinese takeout 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

Grilled Beets

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. Beet love 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:

chickpea salad

Chickpea, Carrot and Arugula Salad

Only 6 ingredients needed Time for a great summer chickpea 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. Growing arugula in pots 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

Potato Salad

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

Patriotic 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 –

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Red White and Blue Vodka Slush

Perfect for 4th of July This recipe for Red White and Blue Vodka Slush 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 Slush! How to make Red White and Blue Vodka Slush 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

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Frozen Patriotic Torte

A wonderful 4th of July dessert 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

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Red White and Blueberry Crumble Bars

An easy Fourth of July dessert 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? You get red, white and blueberry crumble bars! 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) Some blueberry factoids Did you know? In 2018, Oregon produced the most cultivated blueberries, recording 131 million pounds (60

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American Flag Taco Dip

Patriotic for the 4th of July 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 –

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Mimosa Sunrise

Why a sunrise drink? Today, June 21, is the summer solstice. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of the year. What better way to commemorate this day than with a sunrise drink? (No, I don’t mean a drink at sunrise. Unless you are so inclined of course. No judging here!) My first thought was tequila sunrise, but I wanted something different, so I tried a Mimosa. Mimosa – always a good choice So fun! I’m pretty sure you could drizzle grenadine into any orange juice based drink and make the lovely sunrise effect.

martini

A Lemon Martini for National Martini Day!

Good Morning! June 19 is National Martini Day. So, of course, my decision for what to make was already made for me. A martini, obvi. But which one? A lemon martini seemed like the best choice. What would 007 say? The traditional martini is made with gin and vermouth, garnished with olives or a lemon twist. Purists will say to only stir a martini. Some, like James Bond, feel martinis should be shaken not stirred. I for one, do NOT intend to disagree with 007.   What I think is much more fun is the development of martinis with all

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Cranberry Grapefruit Kiss

It all started here. . . Here in Madison, Wisconsin there used to be THE perfect (to me) restaurant. It had something for everyone: think bar food, wonderful salads and appetizers, my favorite cranberry grapefruit drink, decent prices, plenty of seating, a casual, friendly crowd, and in the summer a HUGE outdoor patio. Those who live in Wisconsin LOVE places with outdoor seating, even though it’s relevant only 3-4 months of the year. It makes up a tiny bit for those days of winter. ⛄️ So, I was particularly sad when this restaurant closed. Something about using the (truly awesome)

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Easy Pasta Salad

When I want a quick salad to go with whatever is on the grill, pasta salad is an easy choice. I typically use whatever fresh vegetables happen to be on hand. Then add cheese and meat according to preference or mood of the day. I have found this to be a good venue for whole grain pasta. This is because the use of dressing makes it hard for “picky eaters” to distinguish between the “white stuff” and whole grain. What veggies for the pasta salad? Because I had these on hand, I used tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, yellow bell pepper, green

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Juicy Lucy (Stuffed Burger)

Have you ever heard of a “Juicy Lucy”? No? In that case, I will consider this my public service message for the day. What’s a Juicy Lucy? A Juicy Lucy is a stuffed burger with cheese inside the patty instead of on top resulting in a melted core of cheese. Cool, hey? Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the inventor of the burger, though other bars and restaurants have their own interpretations. One, “Matt’s Bar, where I had my first JL (and not my last) ” uses a different spelling: “Jucy Lucy.” Cooking the cheese in the burger gives

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Grilled Pizza!

Make it vegetarian OR meatlovers grilled pizza! Pizza is America’s favorite food, according to a survey by the California Pizza Kitchen. (I’m sure they were COMPLETELY unbiased, LOL). But it is summer, and we love to grill. So can we combine these two loves? Yes, we CAN! Grilled Pizza! How to grill pizza Grilled pizza is essentially just a technique to get used to, particularly for the crust. Once you have that figured out, the rest is easy. The pizza can then be customized with whatever ingredients are preferred. Please note: I do all my grilling on a gas grill.

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Quinoa Edamame Salad

With summer coming isn’t it nice to have an “easy button” to throw together last-minute salads? This Quinoa Edamame Salad is something I quite literally THREW TOGETHER, using .. whatever .. in my fridge and freezer. I liked it so much, I make it regularly. On purpose! Both quinoa and edamame provide a protein punch. Corn gives hints of sweetness, and grape tomatoes provide a mild tang. I’ve also used cooked carrots and peas with success.  The possibilities are endless! Edamame vs. mukimame One note about edamame: when I find a package labeled edamame in the freezer section, it is

asparagus and cannellini bean salad

Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

I was raised on a farm where we grew our own asparagus, so for me this vegetable always shouts “Spring!” Luckily, due to the marvels of modern growing and shipping practices, we have access to this vegetable almost year round. But let’s face it: Asparagus is still best in the spring. Sometimes all you want to do is steam your asparagus and have it on the side with fish or even steak. But other times, you want something different. And for that we go to one of my cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. And this Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

SOUP

Spicy Mushroom-Noodle Soup

Ramen has come a long way Today’s Spicy Mushroom Noodle Soup is like a great broth bowl from a yummy Ramen place. Have you noticed? Ramen has really come a long way. I don’t think I ever heard of it until I was in college. At the time, ramen meant instant noodles with a flavor packet. And cheap! What were they, three or four packs for a dollar? Perfect dorm room fare: Carbs that didn’t require a lot of cooking or kitchen equipment. Of course, you were always hungry an hour after. Fast forward to today. Ramen has been dressed

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Potato Salad: an Easy Classic

Summer is potato salad season Does anything say summer more than potato salad? (Okay, maybe ice cream, popsicles, shorts, sandals, suntan lotion – you get the idea…) I have a true love affair with potatoes and therefore potato salad. Also, I believe that everyone should have at least one “go to” potato salad recipe that they love and can rely upon. (I have three, at last count) There are many different potatoes and ways to make the dressing, and you might have your own preferences, but here are mine: Ingredients for Homemade Potato Salad Potatoes: I use red potatoes, baby-sized

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Quinoa with Broccoli and Parmesan

Only 3 ingredients needed This is one of my “go to” dishes, any time of year. It takes a mere 3 ingredients and only minutes to assemble. With two of those ingredients being quinoa and broccoli, this dish packs a punch of superfood action covered in one swell foop! AND it’s truly delicious! Quinoa: a whole grain that is gluten free Since May is coming to a close I wanted to be sure to mention that it is Celiac Awareness month. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage to the small intestine.

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Cheesy Brat Stew

A solution for leftover brats Since Memorial Day is upon us, I thought I would post this recipe just in case you’re about to throw some sausages on the grill, and are worried about having leftovers. This brat stew is so yummy, you might want to cook up some extra on purpose! The recipe is meant for bratwurst or Polish sausage, but really almost any sausage will work. When I made this recently I used 4 bratwursts and 2 Italian sausages – naturally, because that’s what was in the fridge! This is a really old recipe I can’t give you

Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Bright and fresh flavors If you are looking for a salad that is bursting with bright, fresh flavors, look no more! This “Middle Earth” delight has a simple vinaigrette dressing that, through some alchemy, “pops” the flavors of the tomatoes and cucumber; “crunches up” the taste of romaine lettuce; and smooths the palate with feta and chickpeas. Kalamata olives provide the “Ta dah!” moment with an exclamation point of piquancy. I absolutely love the flavors and textures of this. Transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean! What ingredients are needed? This recipe comes from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, from America’s

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4 Ingredient Coleslaw

You need this for summer meals! I think there’s a rule that you can’t serve pulled pork without coleslaw. (Maybe it’s just a guideline). Contrary to popular opinion, coleslaw does NOT have to come from a deli. It is, in fact, one of the easiest salads to make and you probably have all the dressing ingredients on hand already! Buy yourself a package of pre-shredded Coleslaw mix and you are good to go! If you are determined to make this COMPLETELY from scratch, you can shred your own cabbage. You could also simply leave a knife out so it looks

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork – Instant Pot

Includes Dry Rub Recipe for Chicken or Pork Memorial Day is coming and you’re probably planning to grill, but if the weather is sketchy or more meal choices are desirable, pulled pork is an excellent and easy choice. Plus, you can make it in your Instant Pot, which frees up other cooking methods for additional menu items. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, just use this rub. Then, slow-cook your meat in the crockpot (at least 6, up to 12, hours on low). Dry Rub First, the dry rub. A couple of years ago, I started using dry rub

roasted carrots

Roasted Baby Carrots

Baby carrots – perfect for snacking AND roasting Something I always have on hand are baby carrots.  They’re the perfect snack, any time of year.  Some call them the perfect health food, too, as they provide beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. They are also thought to lower cholesterol levels and improve eye health. Sign me up!  I like carrots raw as well as steamed.  But if you haven’t yet discovered the rewards of roasting vegetables, using this method to make roasted baby carrots takes them to another level. Are these carrots really babies? According to the carrotmuseum.co.uk

Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas are great in a Buddha bowl! As I stated in my last post, I am focusing this week on ingredients for Buddha bowls: a grain, a green and a bean. Sometimes the bean can be a challenge, so I was really happy to discover that you can make roasted chickpeas for a crunchy treat. They can be eaten as a quick snack anytime you are in the mood. How do you make the roasted chickpeas crispy? I’ve tried a couple different methods to accomplish a nice crunchy chickpea. The ingredient list is short: canned chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings. 

quinoa

Quinoa

for Buddha bowls and more This week, we make quinoa to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.  We have to pick a week because apparently there’s no agreed-upon date for his birth (or “name day” for you Game of Thrones fans).  So, if you are using the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, the 2019 day is May 12. If you’re using the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar, then it’s May 19. Yeah, I’m confused too. Try Wikipedia, they explain it in great detail. What’s a Buddha bowl? But that brings us

roasted brussels sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

If you haven’t tried roasting vegetables, then you have really been missing out!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my steamed veggies as much as the next, and they definitely take the least amount of time to prepare, but sometimes roasting brings out different flavors and textures, which makes them seem like different vegetables all together! Roasted Brussels Sprouts is a perfect example of this. So, let’s walk step by step on how I roast Brussels sprouts.  Now to be honest, I was never that crazy about this particular veggie, which is kind of weird because I really love cabbage,

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Easy Stuffed Sweet Potato

Stuff a sweet potato with leftovers So, do you have a few leftovers from Cinco de Mayo?  Try using them to make a stuffed sweet potato. Whenever I make my Brown Rice and Bean Bake , I love eating the leftovers, but sometimes I like a little variety for it.  Of course, you can go with the classic Burrito Bowl: lettuce or spinach with tomatoes, maybe a little sweet potato and avocado, a scoop of the warmed-up Brown Rice and Bean Bake, and you are good to go! Need more? Add cheese! More still? Thrown on some salsa! You get

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Margarita Slush

Margaritas are a must for Cinco de Mayo Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and I couldn’t let go of this theme without a Margarita recipe! I have to tell you, margaritas hold a special place in my heart.  It started when I first moved from Central Wisconsin to the “big city” of Madison. I was a senior in college and joined a high school friend and her roommates in their bachelorette pad.  I vividly remember their reaction when they realized I came with a blender and about 15 pints of frozen strawberries from my parents’ berry patch.  What a

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Vegetarian Crunch Wrap

Here is something a little different for your menu—a Vegetarian Crunch Wrap! Pick your ingredients This Crunch Wrap is similar to the menu item at a Mexican fast food location near you. But if you make this at home, you have control over exactly what is going into your wrap.  I have made these with seasoned ground beef, as well as with Salsa Chicken, to rave reviews, but wanted to make a vegetarian version for myself.  It took me a couple of tries to get what I wanted, and I can tell you that for me, the key ingredient was

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup for Cinco de Mayo Happy Spring!  It is almost May, which means green grass, flowers and…snow? We did in fact have snow just last weekend here in southern Wisconsin—kind of a cruel trick from Mother Nature.  As much as spring is warm and wonderful, it can also be unpredictable.  So, it is probably a good idea to keep soup in mind for those cooler days.  And, since we are leading up to Cinco de Mayo, what better choice than Black Bean Soup? Like most soups, this one is easy to tinker with by adjusting the seasonings to

Brown Rice and Bean Bake

Mexican, Vegetarian Brown Rice and Bean Bake Today, I am continuing the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, and this time, I am making Brown Rice and Bean Bake. It’s hearty enough to be a main dish for vegetarians and perfectly suited to be a side dish for carnivores. There are plenty of rice-and-bean dishes out there, but most start with white rice, something I try to avoid.  White rice is not a whole grain; all the most nutritious parts, like the bran and the germ, have been removed.  This process removes most of the vitamins and minerals, as well as

salsa chicken

Salsa Chicken

Instant Pot or Oven This coming weekend will be Cinco de Mayo, so what better time to discuss some Mexican-inspired dishes? I’m going to start with Salsa Chicken because it is a simple way to prepare your chicken to use as the basis for many other dishes. I have prepared this in both an oven and Instant Pot and both work great. So no matter what cooking method you prefer, this is guaranteed to be an easy way to prepare an ingredient for the carnivores coming to your Cinco de Mayo party.  How to make Salsa Chicken First, start with