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

grape salad

Grape Salad

Thanksgiving is coming and an easy button would be handy for some sides. This grape salad recipe delivers: simple and delicious, it can be assembled in advance. No need for the Break Glass and Pull in Case of Panic switch. The ingredient list is short. Starts with – you guessed it – grapes! I like a mix of red and green grapes, just for appearance’s sake. There are different ways to handle the grapes. Some like the grapes whole, which certainly makes prep time a snap, but I like the approach taken by Country Living, which is to cut at

mini bell peppers

Mini Bell Pepper Poppers

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

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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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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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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

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

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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

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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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Easy Pasta Salad

When a quick salad is needed 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 plus cheese and meat according to preference or mood of the day. I have found this to be a good venue for whole grain pasta, since the use of a dressing makes it hard for those “picky eaters” to distinguish between the “white stuff” and whole grain. This time I used tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, yellow bell pepper, green onions, salami and mild brick cheese with rotini pasta. My dressing

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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 one 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! One note about edamame: when I find a package labeled edamame in the freezer section, it is a package of beans in

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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 it delivers! By including cannellini beans

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Classic Potato Salad

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. I also 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: Potatoes: I use red potatoes, baby-sized if possible. The reason? It’s such a bother to peel

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Quinoa with Broccoli and Parmesan

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! 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. So many people seem to be affected by this! Fortunately, there are

Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

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! This recipe comes from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, from America’s Test Kitchen. I made a few small adjustments

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4 Ingredient Coleslaw

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 like you slaved all day over

roasted carrots

Roasted Baby Carrots

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 on carrots takes it to another level. According to the carrotmuseum.co.uk (there is a website for EVERYTHING), a “true” baby carrot is basically an immature carrot. If

quinoa

Quinoa

for Buddha bowls and more This week, we 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. But that brings us to Buddha bowls.  According to The Urban

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Roasted Brussel 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! So, let’s walk step by step on how I roast brussel sprouts.  Now to be honest, I was never that crazy about this particular veggie, which is kind of weird because I really love cabbage, and brussel sprouts are quite similar; however,  I think

Brown Rice and Bean Bake

Mexican, Vegetarian Today, I am continuing the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, and this time, I have a recipe that is hearty enough to be a main dish for vegetarians and perfectly suited to be a side dish for carnivores. There are plenty of bean-and-rice 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 the fiber.  So, use brown rice whenever possible;