Archive for the ‘Salads/Sides/Soups’ Category


Finally, another recipe to share

June 6, 2014

artichoke pasta iiiI’ve been neglectful.  I apologize.  Sometimes life gets in the way of other things.  Sometimes it’s so bad that you realize you have a wonderful story or recipe to share, but you haven’t.  I planned to share this recipe a year ago, or close to it.  My girlfriend Cathy makes this dish.  She made it last year for her middle son’s eighth grade graduation party.  In two weeks she’s having her oldest son’s high school graduation party.  Like I said, I’ve been meaning to share this for a while.

This is a great recipe for a large group.  I made it and brought it to a good friend’s house for a cook out.  So it’s a perfect pasta salad too.  It tastes like stuffed artichokes.  Yummy, right?

I used jar artichokes.  I buy them from Costco.  I used about 1 1/2 C of artichokes, and added enough of the liquid to prevent the pasta from being dry.  Also, if you don’t plan to serve the dish right after tossing, hold off on adding the breadcrumbs.

I’m hoping that with the start of my new job I can get back on track with sharing.  The last two years were a blur.  Mostly because my job, which was great, prevented me from spending as much time as I could with my family.

artichoke pasta ivPenne with Artichokes

  • 1-10 oz can Artichokes, reserve liquid
  • 2 T Lemon Juice
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 T Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
  • 1/2 T Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 T Parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 C Bread Crumbs
  • 12 oz Penne Pasta
  • 1 T Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as suggested on package.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 1/2 T of olive oil and add garlic.  Reduce heat and add artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.  Stir in artichoke liquid, lemon, pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a separate saute pen, stir the breadcrumbs in remaining olive oil until brown.

Before ready to serve, toss pasta, artichoke mixture, breadcrumbs and Parmesan together.



Civil War Mac and Cheese Revisted

September 10, 2012

I’m revisiting some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.  This is my go to recipe.  I love that it’s unique.  I also love that depending on what you boil the  noodles in, this dish can be a one pot casserole.  I say that because I’ve been making it in a wonderful deep skillet that I picked up on vacation this past summer.  It’s a Le Creuset 12″ cast iron skillet.  (Thank you outlet mall.) It’s perfect for a one pot casserole.

The other reason I love this recipe is that it’s simple.  Most everything you need is already in the house, well it’s in mine anyway.  It’s a fairly quick recipe that reheats well, if you have any leftover.  It can be made with cheddar, the sharper the better, but you can also make it with Gruyère, or a combination of both.  I’ve also made it with cheddar and gouda.  I like gouda because it melts so well.

I’ve also made this with shells instead of elbow maccaroni.  Or better yet, I’ve also made it with wagon wheel pasta.  Who doesn’t like wagon wheel pasta?  It’s the perfect complement to melted cheese.  Crumple up some crushed Cheese-Its on the pasta instead of breadcrumbs.  This is perfect for this time of year.  Make it as a side, or just enjoy it as a main dish.

Civil War Mac and Cheese

  • 4 C Milk
  • 2 C Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 C- 3C, packed, grated cheddar cheese
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 t Nutmeg
  • 1/4 C Cheese-Its, crushed
  • Salt, for the macaroni

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the milk and salt in a large saucepan until steamy. Stir in the dry macaroni and let the milk come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer.  Pay attention while the macaroni is cooking in the milk as the milk may foam up and boil over.  Cook the macaroni for about 15 minutes or until done, the macaroni will absorb most of the milk.  Make sure that there is still milk left in the pan.   As soon as the macaroni is done, add the grated cheese, pepper and nutmeg and stir.  Sprinkle with Cheese-Its and bake for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Here’s my original post.  As you can see, I’ve stop using the butter because I leave enough milk in the pot to help melt the cheese.


More Zucchini

August 19, 2012

We are still enjoying our garden zucchini.  I’m thanking the unusually hot summer.  I usually don’t have zucchini this long, unless I plant additional halfway through the season.    I thought that since we really enjoy the oven roasted tomatoes, why not try the same method with zucchini?  Why indeed.  These zucchini chips have been eaten so fast, they’ve never made it to the table.  Meeshie keeps asking when I plan to make them again.  Soon, sweetie, I promise.

The thinner you cut the zucchini, the crisper they will become.  The crunch is what makes this so irresistible.  These chips are so worth the time needed to make.  Especially since the time element is the hardest part of the recipe.  The time depends on how thick, or thin, you slice the zucchini.  So please be patient.

Are these perfect for an appetizer?  You bet.  Would these taste heavenly as a side to a hamburger, hot dog, sausage, or your favorite sandwich?  No doubt.  Is this a great way to get your child to eat their veggies?  YES!

Oh, and the red baskets?  My husband saw those at Sur La Table at the beginning of summer.  I thought they would just sit in the cabinet unused.  I was so wrong.  We love these baskets!  We use them for lunch and dinner.  We put hamburgers, hot dogs and sausage in them.  We’ve used them for chicken wings.  I bought the double box of waxed paper from Costco and use that as the liner.

Zucchini Chips

  • 3-4 Medium Zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1-2 T Olive Oil
  • Truffle Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Parmesan

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the zucchini with the olive oil, salt and pepper to coat the zucchini evenly.  Lay the zucchini on the baking sheet on a single layer.  Bake in a 200 degree oven for 2-3 hours, flipping the zucchini after an hour and half.  If desired, toss the warm chips with freshly grated parmesan.


My Bumper Crop

August 6, 2012

Last summer I had the worst luck with zucchini.  Not so this year.  This year my husband and I made the garden larger with a really cool gate.  This year we had room to add more celery, tomato and zucchini.  We also planted some eggplant, which I visit every other day looking for buds.

I know that all of you that plant a garden know that once your fruits and veggies come in, sometimes you need to be creative with your bounty.  And last year as I dreamt about zucchini that never came, I also planned ways to make my zucchini.  Like sauted with olive oil, pepper and truffle salt.  Or in blueberry zucchini bread, (which I’ve also made with cherries instead of the blueberry).  Or as zucchini chips.  And this great dish of kicked up risotto.  You can also make it with brown rice, but we do so love risotto.

So as I shred my zucchini to store in the freezer for bread, I’m dancing around smiling knowing that I may or may not have this wonderful fruit next season.

Zucchini Risotto

  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 2 T Butter
  • 1 C Risotto
  • 2 C Chicken Broth
  • 2 T Pesto
  • 4 C Shredded Zucchini
  • 1 C Parmesan, shredded

Heat oil and butter in large sauce pan.  Add the risotto  and saute until toasted.  Slowly add the chicken broth, allowing the risotto to soak up most of the broth before adding more.  Once all the broth has been added, add the pesto.  Add the zucchini and parmesan.  Stir until well incorporated.  Cover , remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Here’s the inspiration.


Pineapple Mango Salad

May 16, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I get Everyday Food magazine.  It was a gift a few years ago from my friend Cathy.  I love it so much that I renewed it myself this year.  The renewal came with WholeLiving.  It’s a strange magazine and usually I just recycle it, but I came across a great recipe that I love.

The thing I love about Everyday Food is that I don’t have to hunt down one strange ingredient (or five) to make a recipe and then never use that ingredient again.  If you don’t mind doing that, than you may like WholeLiving.  This wonderful fruit salad originally calls for a Meyer Lemon and a 1/2 C of freshly shaved coconut.  You’ll see that I left both out. I’m not about to hunt all over for the lemon or go through the hassle of opening a coconut.  Not to mention figuring out what to do with the remaining coconut.

The balance of the pineapple, mango and lemon for this salad is wonderful.  This is a refreshing and different way to enjoy pineapple.  You could chill it, but I served it at room temperature and it was divine.  I must admit that I do prefer the Manila mango.  It’s a sweeter mango with a yellowish skin that is bursting with flavor.  I was fortunate to buy a box of them at my local grocer.  But use what you like, or can get your hands on.

Pineapple Mango Salad

  • 1 whole Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 whole Mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

Combine all three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Toss and serve.

Serves 4-6.


A Great Salad

April 10, 2012

I found this salad a while ago by watching The Sandwich King, of all things.  I know that recently I talked about how I’ve grown to dislike the show, but this recipe is a winner.  The dressing is sweet, but not too sweet.  The bacon and cheese really complement each other.  I also love the addition of the pasta.  I’ve made it a few times, most recently to add to my Easter brunch.  It’s the perfect salad for a large crowd, but it can also easily be halved.  The original recipe calls for less dressing, but I double the dressing (the recipe listed reflects that) because it just isn’t enough for the amount of salad.

The gorgonzola really adds something to the salad.  I know that it’s like blue cheese, either you like it or you don’t.  I’m not a fan of blue cheese, but a small amount of gorgonzola really adds a lot of punch to this salad.  The dressing is super easy to make and would be a great marinade on chicken or pork.  Make extra and keep it in the fridge, but just make to sure you don’t forget about it.

Chopped Salad with Sweet Italian Dressing

  • Salad:
  • 1 lb Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 C Ditalini Pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 C Gorgonzola
  • 2 Hearts Romaine, chopped
  • 1/2 Small Red Cabbage, chopped
  • 4 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 1 C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 4 T Honey
  • 2 t Italian Seasoning
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 C Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the bacon, pasta, romaine, cabbage, tomatoes, red onions and gorgonzola.

For the dressing, place the vinegar, honey, Italian seasoning, garlic, and salt and pepper in a blender.  While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil until the dressing is combined.  Adjust the oil if necessary.

Right before serving, add the dressing and toss together until well coated.

Serves 8 to 10.


Tomato Cream Soup

February 14, 2012

Yesterday I was home with Meeshie.  She was sick on Sunday and didn’t feel any better on Monday morning.  I was actually off for Lincoln’s birthday and had planned to do quite a few things.  Instead I stayed home and made soup.  Not that Meeshie had any, but still.  I also made some whoopie pies.  I love making them because they are so simple and easy to store.  Perfect for a fourth grader’s lunch.

Today Meeshie is feeling more herself.  Or maybe it’s the prospect of her Valentine’s Day party?  Either way, she’s back to school.  Sunday, on the other hand, was sad.  She missed a birthday party and never left the couch.  You know your child is not feeling right when that happens!

Ah, but back to the soup.  I made this simple and tasty tomato soup after going through one of my cook books.  I know a lot of people collect cook books, but I don’t.  I’ve found that if I buy one I may use one recipe out of the entire book.  With the exception of some wonderful books from Williams-Sonoma.  My husband found a collection of cook books for me when we were first married.  I don’t have the whole series, but I do have a few great books.  One of them is a soup cook book.  I know I’ve shared my love of soup, so it comes as no surprise that I’ve made quite a few of these recipes.

This tomato soup recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, but this time of year it’s best to use canned.  Using the canned tomatoes actually make the soup even easier because I didn’t have to blend anything.  If you use the fresh tomatoes, just skin them and chop them.

Tomato Cream Soup

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 3-28 oz cans of crushed Tomatoes (or 4 lbs of fresh, skinned and chopped)
  • 3 C Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 t Thyme, dried
  • 1/3 t Ginger, ground
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 1/2  C Bread Crumbs
  • 1 C Half and Half
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter.  Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, stock, thyme, ginger, salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf and slowly whisk in the bread crumbs.  If using fresh tomatoes, in small batches puree the soup in a blender or food processor.  Strain the liquid and return it to the pan.  Stir in the cream and simmer for five minutes.

Serve with your favorite sandwich.

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