Vegetarian stromboli

Stromboli

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. Traditionally, Stromboli is made with cheeses and cold cuts wrapped in dough. The dough can be pizza dough, but I really like using puff pastry and

roasted cabbage

Roasted Cabbage

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. 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, according to prevention.com, if you dislike these tastes it’s probably due to your genetics. Just as

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

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.

cheesy potato soup

Cheesy Potato Soup

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! 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 notice is that I use red potatoes. I do this

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

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

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.

spaghetti squash casserole

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. 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! The magic is in the

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

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

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

Bread

No-Knead 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?) This recipe, courtesy of New York Times Cooking, is very easy. It does not require kneading, and the ingredients are very simple. Not

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

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

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

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

Silly Apple Bites

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

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 pancakes? Well, 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. Flour, baking powder, milk and egg. A little butter, salt and sugar. What could be easier? It takes minutes to mix together and just a few more minutes for cooking time. Whisk the ingredients together

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

The first Sunday after Labor Day 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, like oatmeal. 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. But do these count? I’m pretty sure Grandma would look at these with a curious eye. Some may be as nutritious, but when

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, 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? 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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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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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 Corn Tomato Avocado Salad 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

close up

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. 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 a contorno (side dish) and may be eaten any

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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. 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 for this Salad 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

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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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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

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 up and taken downtown. Seems like

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Potato Salad: an Easy Classic

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 if possible. The reason? It’s

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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

Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

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. I’ve tried a couple different methods to accomplish a nice crunchy chickpea. The ingredient list is short: canned chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings.  Simple, right? Well, not exactly. As it turns out, there are many different approaches to

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. But that brings us to Buddha bowls.  According

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Easy Stuffed Sweet Potato

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 the idea. One day, I wanted

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Vegetarian Crunch Wrap

Here is something a little different for your menu—a Veggie Crunch Wrap! 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 a nice thick

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

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 suit your personal preference.  The inspiration for

Brown Rice and Bean Bake

Mexican, Vegetarian 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 the fiber.  So, use brown