Archive for June, 2010

Don’t let it fool you.  This pasta has heat.  It’s reminiscent of spaghetti aglia e olio but with a lot of veggies and minus a bunch of olive oil. Sounds healthy right?? It’s great with whole grain pasta, and  if you minus the cheese it would be a good diet alternative.  I’m not getting rid of the cheese though.  Go Me!

To cut down on the heat, reduce or remove the red pepper flake.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 1/3 pound spaghetti noodles (about a quarter sized bunch)
  • 6-8 ounces of sliced mushroom
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma)
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup canned artichoke quarters
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

In a medium pot, bring your water to a boil. Once boiling, add in your pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat up two tbsp of olive oil and saute the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms have browned slightly, pour in the onion slices, separating the rings while stirring. Cook for 4-6 minutes, to soften the onion.

Add in the chopped tomato, and the last tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break up, about 5 minutes. Add in the spices and garlic and stir.

Once the garlic is cooked (about a minute) add in the spinach.

Toss until wilted. Add in artichoke hearts and set aside.

Once the pasta is finished, pour 1 cup of pasta water into the vegetables. Drain the rest of the water from the pasta.  Toss the pasta and vegetable mixture together.

Now comes the big choice…  to stir in the cheese before, or to serve sprinkled on top.  Umm yeah, I do both.



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This is a marinade that cold be used for kabobs but I like it just as much on a full chicken breast or breast cut into large strips for a salad. Or serve with grilled veggies. The garlic and lemon highlight this Mediterranean-style dish perfectly.


  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1 6-8 ounce cup of plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried sage, or 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional, but I LOVE garlic!!!!)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

In a gallon sized plastic bag or a container with a lid, pour in all ingredients but the chicken.

Mix the marinade,  mashing the feta cheese while blending.

Looking good and smelling better!!!

Drop in your chicken and completely coat in the marinade.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can marinade overnight though.

Grill grill chicken until the juices run clear or the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees (or however you normally cook it).  My favorite way to serve is over a bed of spinach with grilled onion and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

What’s yours???

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I’m posting a basic recipe since it’s so easy to modify.  Add some mayonnaise, peas, and bacon, you have a creamy pasta salad. Egg crumbles, spinach, sliced red onion, and bacon and you’ve got a spinach pasta salad.  Add green onion, brown sugar, and ginger to the basic recipe and you have an Asian style salad. Add peanut butter, and red bell pepper to the Asian style and you have Thai. The list goes on.  Experiment for yourself, or just leave it basic. Perfect for a potluck or on a hot summer day.

This recipe serves 4-6


  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • t tbsp of spicy brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1/2 lemon, for juice
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of canola or olive oil or blend of the two
  • 1 cup of broccoli, cut small and steamed for about two minutes
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 6-8 oz of rotelle, bow-tie, or mini penne pasta

Optional add ins:

  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup garbonzo and/or kidney beans
  • 1 small can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, asiago or romano cheese

Start by getting your pasta ready.  Boil according to the manufacturer’s direction for al dente pasta.

While your pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl whisk the water, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder, and red pepper flake.

Whisk in the mustard,

then stir in the carrot.

After stirring in your carrot, VIOLA! You have mustard-carrot vinegrette! You can store it and use it on a lettuce salad if you’d like. OR…

Stir in your broccoli, onion, and any other add-ins.  Then set aside.

When the pasta is finished cooking, rinse thoroughly under cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Drain,and add to the veggie-vinegrette mix. Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Stir once again before serving.

Asian style salad: Add additional 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1-1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger, 3 sliced green onions and substitute salt for 1 tsp soy sauce.  Mix into the vinegrette before adding the pasta

Thai: Whisk 1/4 cup of peanut butter into the asian style vinegrette, and 1/2 or a red bell pepper diced

Southwestern style: Add 1 packet of  taco seasoning to the vinegrette, omit broccoli, add corn and olives.  Top with cheese.

Greek: Whisk 2 tsp oregano into vinegrette. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped peppercini, 1/2 chopped cucumber, a handful of kalamata olives, 1 cup of chopped salami, and 1/2  cup of crumbled feta cheese.

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Yes, I am a cookie monster.  They are another one of my weaknesses. Needless to say, I do have many. Don’t rub it in. These cookies are fast, easy, and my family loves them. Coconut, pecans, and chocolate… what’s not to love????


  • 1 box of German chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of flaked coconut (sweetened is fine)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs brown sugar,vanilla and milk.

It won’t look pretty.

But don’t worry. It all comes together!  With a spoon or spatula, stir in the cake mix, coconut and pecans

until just blended.

Drop spoonfuls (2 tablespoons each will equal 24 cookies) into the powdered sugar and flip to coat.

Arrange on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Be careful! The dough is sticky but the powdered sugar will make it easier to handle.

Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the centers are cooked, but the cookies will still be soft.


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I went through my garden to harvest what was ready or needed to be thinned. After a quick run through,  I took a look at my pickings.

Swiss chard, baby gray zucchini, and green beans.  Hmmmmm.  Since it was overcast, soup pops into mind.  And minestrone fits the bill.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of tomato based soups, but I can make an exception if the veggies are from my garden, or if it is this particular minestrone soup.  And since I can have both, well there you go!


  • 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced in 1/8 to 1/4 inch rounds
  • 3-4 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or pushed through a garlic press
  • 4 large swiss chard or bok choy stalks,  separate the stalks from the leaves,and then chop all of it (you can substitute 3 cups of fresh spinach as well!)
  • 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen green beans
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of red wine (optional, but yummy!)
  • 1 14oz can of cannellini or kidney beans (I used light red in this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I’ve even used a tablespoon of basil pesto as a substitution!)
  • 2 zucchini, halved and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups of slightly undercooked pasta (I would recommend a mini penne, mini elbow, or something unique. No flat noodles!  I used a campanelle for this batch)
  • Shredded parmesan or Italian cheese blend for topping
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot on medium high, heat the olive oil until it’s shimmering.  Stir in the carrots, onion, and celery and sautee until they just start to brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about another minute.

Pour in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (juice included), green beans and chard stems, and give a good stir.

Next add in the kidney beans, beef broth, and wine if you’re using it.

Bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir in the chard leaves (or spinach), oregano and basil

then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Next,  stir in your semi-cooked pasta and zucchini.

Again cover with a lid and simmer for another 15-25 minutes until the pasta is cooked to “al dente” or still has a little tooth to it.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve sprinkled with shredded parmesan. Yet another recipe that gets even better the next day!!!!!

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I feel like I should enlarge this picture so that you can see the yumminess of this burrito better.  You can actually see it.  Really. I’ve even used the potatoes as a side dish. No tortilla needed. Brings back memories of my sister and I standing around the kitchen with our bowls of cheesy potatoes, too busy chowing down to say a word.

To my vegetarian friends, you can omit the bacon completely, or use tofu bacon, which works great too!!!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • 1/2 lb of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 potatoes diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 cups) I used a mix of russet and yellow rose
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced, or pushed through a garlic press
  • 1/2  tsp garlic salt
  • 1  8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1-1/2-2 cups of shredded cheddar (I try to use extra sharp)
  • pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • sliced green onions
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • sour cream

Start by heating your oil on high heat in a nonstick pan until shimmering.

Stir in the potatoes and fry until they are starting to brown a bit,  about 10 minutes. Stir in you onion.

Cook the onion for 4-7 minutes or until the onion has softened but hasn’t browned, then stir in the garlic.

Cook for about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant but hasn’t browned. Lower heat to medium and toss in the garlic salt, tomato sauce and water ( If you’re adding hot sauce, put it in now) and cook stirring occasionally for 6 -8 minutes until the water has been absorbed.

Turn off the heat. Immediately sprinkle on bacon crumbles, and the shredded cheese.

Aww yeah!

I’m subconsciously hearing Barry White right now. That’s what these burritos do to me.

Put a lid or plate over your pan to help the cheese melt.

It shouldn’t take long.  Just 4-5 minutes. And…

You can see the yumminess! You could stop now and serve this as a side dish.  Or you could make a burrito.

Heat up a flour tortilla until softened.  I have gas burners so I cook the tortillas directly on the burner flipping them until they are hot. Using a pan is fine too. Whatever is easiest.

Notice the burn spots on the tortilla?? That’s flavor!!!  Top your tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the potatoes, and add whatever extras you like.  I’m putting on some more cheese ( you know me!!) and some sliced green onions.

And if you don’t know how to roll a burrito…

Ready to eat!!!!

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