This blog....

Food IS love made tangible... it is a gift that meets the needs of the soul as well as the body. I have found that preparing and presenting food with great care is worth the effort....creating an atmosphere that warmly invites guests to linger. As Julia Child said, "Nothing is too much trouble, if it turns out as it should."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Most Delicious Salad Ever

Millie's Pretzel Salad:

First step:
1 cup crushed pretzels ½ cup butter (softened)
½ cup or less sugar

Combine the above ingredients and mix well, place in 9X13 pan, bake 7 min at 400
Cool completely, then break into small pieces.

Second step:
8 oz – cream cheese softened ½ cup or less sugar
1 20oz  can crushed pineapple (drained) can also use some pineapple tidbits OR mandarin oranges
1 12oz  container or Cool Whip (thawed)

Beat cream cheese w/sugar, mix in pineapple, then fold in cool whip.
Fold in pretzel mixture (reserving a bit to put on top), and place in large bowl or 9X13 pan. Refrigerate a few hours.

This is the most delicious salad ever... great for potlucks!

[photo will follow]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Italian Roasted Potatoes

Red potatoes, roasted at 375 degrees for 45 minutes - After pealing and cutting the potatoes into chunks, I smothered them in Olive Garden Salad Dressing (Walmart carries it now).  Added a bit of salt and pepper and popped them in the oven, in an olive oil-greased baking dish.  When they were almost done, I sprinkled them with a blend of 5 Italian cheeses.  Easy and delicious!  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Breakfast Wreathe

This is not a new recipe, just a few more pics that show it in progress.  And this time, I used more crescent rolls, to make a larger wreathe.  Cooked bacon, scrambled eggs, sharp cheddar cheese inside and on top, and baked for not quite 15 minutes = breakfast for hungry guests.  :-)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Creamy Mushroom & Celery Soup

Ok, so I know it's summer - but soup just sounded good to me today.  The idea for this soup came from a British murder mystery series - the chef used wild mushrooms, celery and onions, gathered on a river bank.   I used produce from the grocery store: mushrooms, celery, green onions, and a large can of chicken broth. First, I diced the onions and celery very tiny.  Then I sliced several mushrooms.  I added them to the broth in a medium sized pan, over low heat.  I added a bit of red pepper and fresh parsley from my herb garden. Once this all came to a boil, I turned the heat down and added just a bit of Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes brand of potato flakes.  I stirred constantly, until the soup was thickened slightly.  Garnish: a small sprig of parsley.  This soup is sweet and when eaten in air conditioning - perfect for a summer evening!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Dish!

What's for dinner?  Tonight, I looked in the frig, and saw a bag of ready-to-eat-coleslaw, just waiting to be eaten.  I love coleslaw, but who can eat an entire bag?  So, I decided to cook it and add some pork for a main dish.
I sauteed the coleslaw in extra virgin olive oil; added some Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce, a few crushed peanuts & red pepper.  Meanwhile, I cut the pork into small pieces and fried them in olive oil, along with a bit of salt and red pepper.  After they were browned and well-cooked, I added them to the cabbage mix. I cooked it all for a few more minutes, so the flavors would permeate.... added some fresh parsley from my small herb garden, and Voila!  Dinner!  It was spicy and crunchy, and a clementine Izzy cooled it all down to perfection.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pineapple Strawberry Dessert

So, Paula Deen calls her dessert a "casserole."  haha.
Ingredients:  1 c sugar, 6 T flour, 2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese,1 c Ritz cracker crumbs, 1 stick butter, melted,  2 (20 oz) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 T pineapple juice reserved (I used 1 can pineapple tidbits, and then substituted fresh strawberries for the other can.

Directions:  grease medium casserole dish with butter
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour.  Gradually stir in the cheese.  Add the drained fruit and stir until ingredients are well combined.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish.
In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter and reserved pineapple juice, stirring until evenly blended.
Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple/strawberry mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Thanks, Paula - another great recipe!!
Even better with vanilla ice cream :-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zucchini Boats

Here's a great idea for those HUGE zucchini that are overwhelming gardeners:
Cut in half length-wise.  Scoop out all the seeds and enough zucchini, to leave a nicely hollowed-out boat.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Ingredients:  browned hamburger, mashed potatoes (I use Idahoan Loaded Baked Potato flakes)
corn, cut up broccoli, sauteed red onions, salt, pepper, sharp cheddar cheese.  Microwave the corn and broccoli and add to the mashed potatoes mix.
Sorry, I can't give you amounts - just use however much makes a nice, thick mixture.  I add cheese to the mixture, as well as sprinkling some on top.
Bake for about 20 minutes.  One large zucchini will make 2 boats, which can be cut in half, making 4 servings.  A salad would complete the meal, or just sliced tomatoes.


Here's a simple skillet breakfast for two:  hash browns, scrambled eggs and chopped up tomato.  I add red peppers and onions to the potatoes; cook those first; then make room in the middle of the skillet for the eggs, which I stir up with chives, salt and pepper and a bit of grated cheese.  After the eggs are cooked, I slide everything out onto a serving platter, and add a few chopped tomatoes for color (and flavor!).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Breakfast Wreath

One tube crescent rolls - not the flaky ones - use the original
8 strips cooked, not crispy bacon
scrambled eggs (use maybe 6-8)
1/2 cup or so shredded cheese of your choice (I use sharp cheddar)

Lay out the rolls, individually, with the widest part toward the center; overlap slightly, making a circle.  Lay one strip of bacon on each, followed by the scrambled eggs; sprinkle with cheese. Roll up, toward the center, to make a wreath.  Sprinkle the top with chives.

Bake 350 for ~15 minutes 'til golden brown.  8 small or 4 larger servings. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Late Summer Pasta Dish

With the abundance of fresh veggies available this time of year, I decided to experiment with a pasta dish, using penne pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and onions. I cooked the pasta, while sauteing the cut up veggies. For spice, I used Sambal Olek Chili Paste (just a 1/2 tsp). [Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli sauce, a product of Thailand, would also be a great choice, for a bit sweeter flavor.] I topped the dish with feta cheese. It was not only beautiful, but delicious!

Fresh Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup; and with the abundance of tomatoes at our house these days, decided to create my own recipe. I chopped up several very ripe tomatoes and added them to boiling water. Sorry, I can't give quantities, because I simply do not create that way. But, definitely more tomatoes than water. I added minced garlic, a dash of salt, several dashes of pepper, and my favorite Penzeys Spice: Pasta Sprinkle. It is a mix of sweet basic, Turkish oregano, thyme and garlic. I also added a tablespoon or so of bacon bits (the flavor permeates the soup). I let this wonderful concoction simmer for maybe 10 minutes, until the tomatoes were essentially mush. After cooling a bit, I poured it into my blender and pushed "liquify." It was amazing! I garnished the soup with homemade croutons, made from chopped up bread crusts, lightly tossed in olive oil and a little heavy on the lemon pepper... baked at 350 for 6 minutes each side, and allowed to cool. You could even put a bit of grated cheese on top. Voila! What a comfort food for early fall days.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Petite Watermelons"

This recipe is from Victoria Belanger's book, Hello, Jell-o! Her book has wonderfully creative gelatin recipes. The photos are striking, as the author is a professional photographer. Ingredients: 1 cup boiling water 1 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin (I used cherry) 1 cup chopped strawberries 1/2 cup cold water 5 limes, halved with pulp scooped out** 1 tsp black sesame seeds, poppy seeds or basil seeds I used a 4 cup pyrex cup to bring the water to a boil in the microwave. After dissolving the gelatin, I poured it into a blender and added the cold water. I blended the gelatin until liquefied. Next, I poured the blended gelatin into a 9x11" pyrex pan and refrigerated until thickened, but not firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Then, I skimmed off the foam that had risen to the top of the gelatin and stirred the puree that was left. I used a small spoon to scoop the mixture into the lime rind halves. After placing them on a small cooling rack (to keep them from tipping), I refrigerated until firm, about 4 hours. Finally, I used a large and very sharp knife to cut the lime halves into half again. I sprinkled them with poppy seeds. These "petite watermelons" were a hit with our guests!! ** Scooping out the limes was the hardest part; I ended up using a small pair of sissors to actually cut through the pulp, and then a spoon to scrape it all out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crab Cakes & Stuffed Mushrooms for Lunch!

My first-ever attempt at stuffed mushrooms was with Whitney for a bridal shower she hosted.  A few days later, I made them again, along with crab cakes and a tossed salad for lunch with Laura and her four children.  The mushrooms were large, firm and white - perfect!  The filling was made with diced leeks, shallots and garlic, sauteed in olive oil, and combined with a bit of browned hamburger, crumbled Ritz crackers, salt & pepper, and a mix of shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. I had plenty of help in the kitchen, with all these preparations, as the six of us stirred, stuffed and baked!  In the crabcakes, we also used Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs, dry mustard, a bit of mayonnaise, eggs, diced green onion, and a bit of Cholula hot sauce.  We baked the mushrooms for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, while the crab cakes cooked in olive oil on the stove top. Oh my, was that a grand lunch!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bread Bowl

This is one of our favorite summer dishes!  Any combination of veggies can be used. This picture shows muhsrooms, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli and zucchini.  If you cut into the ends of the celery and cut a pattern on top of the radishes, and then soak them in cold water for an hour or so, they will be even prettier.  After slicing a off a "lid," carve out the inside of the bowl to make room for a small serving bowl of ranch dressing/dip. Serve the bread you have carved out, along with bacon or other meat and cheese on a separate plate.   You can put the "lid" back on, or leave it off, decorating around the top with more veggies.  This is a fingers-only meal!  The bread bowl is eaten as the meal progresses.  You could serve chips as well.  This meal will serve 4-6. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicken Salad for Summertime

This is a simple summer salad, using approximately equal amounts of chicken, red onion, celery and walnuts.  First, I pan-fried the chicken breast tenderloins in olive oil, with salt and pepper.      While that was cooking, I chopped up red onion, celery and walnuts.  After dicing the cooled chicken, I mixed all the ingredients together, along with a few dashes of lemon pepper and a combination of  half mayonnaise and half Miracle Whip.  I served it on a bed of fresh greens, with tomato slices on the side. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cheesy Chicken

This recipe is from my sister, and is quick, easy and delicious! Simply layer six thin-sliced chicken breast fillets, slices of swiss cheese, cream of chicken soup (undiluted), and StoveTop stuffing (fixed according to driections; I like to add one or all of the following to the stuffing mix: celery, onions, raisins, walnuts).  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Great with tossed salad and rolls.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Lunch by Laura

The other day, Laura brought an amazing Spring lunch: chicken salad, split pea soup, fruit and a yogurt dip. Her soup used frozen peas, chicken broth, a ham bone, several secret ingredients, and swirl of cream on top.  The fruit dip was yogurt with brown sugar and another ingredient or two that remain secrets.  Amazing lunch! Amazing friend.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taco Salad With a Twist!

Recently, I discovered  a sweet chili sauce made in Thailand.  WalMart carries it in the Asian section, in a 10 oz bottle: Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce.  I added it to the the hamburger that went in our Taco Salad.  DELICIOUS!  The rest of the salad is standard: tomatoes, lettuce, tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Salad....

Ok, so there's really nothing that special about this salad - but you have to admit: it's rather photogenic... so much so that it appears in the post below, too!  :-) 

BBQ Chicken Pizza!

My favorite meal is pizza and salad, and my favorite kind of pizza is bbq chicken!  I make it with The Art of Chipotle Crazzberry Fiesta sauce.... peppered bits of left-over chicken, diced red onion, fresh mushroom slices, and shredded swiss cheese.  I usually use ready-made Boboli pizza crust.  Bake at 400 for less than 10 minutes, and you're good to go!  Of course, you could use any kind of bbq sauce and cheese, but this combination is fantastic. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simply Salad - Simply Beautiful

I've rediscovered purple cabbage, and the beauty it brings to a simple salad!  Spinach, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and purple cabbage are this salad's four ingredients.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Wonderful Winter Soup

This is a hearty, vegetarian, winter soup that uses no dairy.  I started with finely chopped carrots and celery and bigger chunks of potato, simmered just 10 minutes or so, in a small amount of water.  Meanwhile, I heated the crockpot with chicken broth... then added the slightly-cooked vegetables.  Cooked on high for 6 hours.  Then added frozen corn, canned navy and great northern beans (not drained).  Finally: stirred in 2 packages of Idahoan brand 4 cheese mashed potato flakes.... and continued cooking for another 2 horus on low.  Spices: Penzey's Parisien Bonnes Herbes (chives, dill weed, basil, French tarragon, chervil and white pepper) and a bit of salt, several bits of pepper, and a couple dashes of liquid smoke.  This soup is creamy and reminds me of ham and bean soup, yet without the ham.  The beans give plenty of protein; the corn helps sweeten it; and the Penzey's spices also add a sweet savor.  I served it with rolls and a tossed salad; our guests loved it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey

Really and truly, I do the simplest of Thanksgiving turkeys! After cleaning it up a bit, I rub it with olive oil, and then sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.  This year, however, I tried Penzeys Spices: Bavarian Seasoning, mixed with a bit of salt and pepper.  I had some green onions that needed to be used, so I laid these in the cavity.  After a couple hours of roasting at 325, it needed an aluminum foil tent to protect it from getting too brown.  Voila!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dessert

My lovely daughter-in-law baked this awesome Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake for our Thanksgiving dinner. 
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 9inch prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmet
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Blend in eggs one at a time.  Remove 1 cup of batter and spread remaining batter into bottom of crust; set aside.  Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended.  Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.  Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until center is almost set.  Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.  Serve with a spoonful of whipped topping.

Thank you, Whitney!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

There's a plethora of recipes online for breakfast casseroles.... and I have gotten a couple from friends, as well.  This is a very easy and crowd-pleasing version from   I recently served it to guests for brunch, along with homemade applesauce (with a few strawberries mixed in). 
1# sausage
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
6-8 slices of bread, cubed
salt and pepper

Place cubed bread in lightly greased 9x11" casserole dish.  Top with browned sausage.  Add cheese.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk and a bit of salt and pepper.  Pour over top.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  I topped the casserole with chives.  The finished product serves 8-10, and you will be asked to share your recipe!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My First Apple Pie

I had actually never made an apple pie... until last week.  It was easier than I thought, and absolutely delicious.  Now I've made a second; and because there are so many recipes online, I can hardly wait to try another one!  My husband certainly isn't complaining.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cordon Bleu Casserole

This recipe is from the friend of a friend.... btw, she lives in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan! This dish serves 8; prep time: 25 minutes and bake time: 30 minutes.
4 cups cubed cooked turkey
3 cups cubed fulled cooked ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1+cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions: In a large bowl, combine turkey, ham and cheese; set aside. In a saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add flour; stir to form a paste. Gradually add cream, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 1 minute or until thick. Add dill, mustard and nutmeg; mix well. Remove from the heat and pour over meat mixture. Spoon into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Toss bread crumbs, butter and dill; stir in cheese and walnuts. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This dish goes well with a tossed or fruit salad.  (The above photo includes two salads, bread and dessert, provided by friends.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spinach Wraps

Spread Salsa con Queso on tortillas; add chopped red onion, spinach and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Wrap tightly. Fry in a shallow amount of olive oil, turning a couple of times. As they brown, sprinkle a bit more shredded cheese on each. Cut in half, and serve with tomato slices for a light lunch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

French Toast

This French Toast is really sweet. Use fresh nutmeg, grated. The topping is chopped walnuts and dried cranberries, gently toasted in olive oil on the stovetop, with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon. When the toast is ready to serve, top with the cranberries and walnut mixture and a bit of pure maple syrup. If you want a few more calories and sweetness, add a few dollops of whipped cream. Slices of a very tart apple complement this dish well.

Emily's Pasta Dish

Thanks to Emily for introducing me to this wonderful pasta dish!

Angel hair spaghetti
Fresh asparagus
Cherry tomatoes
Sambal Olek Ground Fresh Chili Paste
Parmesan Cheese

Boil the spaghetti until tender; drain
Cut the asparagus into 1" pieces; slice the cherry tomatoes in half Saute the asparagus in a small amount of butter and chili paste
Add tomatoes
Remove from heat while vegetables are still crisp
Serve over spaghetti noodles
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

This is wonderful with a tossed salad and rolls.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Spinach Salad

Today is Father's Day, and we had the joy of sharing dinner with our sons, lovely daughter-in-law, and a dear couple to whom we wish we were related! Our menu was: grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans, rolls, this spinach salad, and banana pudding for dessert. The salad is simple: fresh spinach leaves, strawberries, walnuts, feta cheese and poppy seed dressing on the side.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Secret is Cinnamon!

The secret to my CHICKEN SALAD is cinnamon! The other secret is DO NOT BOIL the chicken - that does NOTHING for its flavor. ALWAYS gently brown it in olive oil, over medium, never high temperature, salted lightly and peppered not-so-lightly. Cut off all fat and gristle. Use your Slap-Chop to chop up celery and red onion and walnuts. Combine half mayonnaise and half Miracle Whip, with a bit of celery seed, chives and cinnamon, mixed in. Combine all ingredients. Serve on a bed of fresh spinach, in large hollowed-out tomatoes, with a pretty cut-out design on the tops. Perhaps sprinkle a tiny bit more cinnamon on top. Complete this simple summer supper with carrot sticks, iced tea or lemonade, and dinner rolls or potato chips.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day and Chocolate

My dear daughter-in-law has done it again! More amazing chocolate creations! I think she should have a business and call it, "Desserts to Die For!" or "Whitney's Chocolate Creations." For Mother's Day lunch, she made chocolate cheesecake.... which WAS to die for and these amazing chocolate covered strawberries! She graciously sent some of both home with us. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera with me at lunch, or I would have taken a photo of an entire plate of strawberries.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Variation on Banana Pudding...

Today I substituted chocolate milk for regular milk in Brad's sister's banana pudding recipe.... left out the bananas and added chocolate chips.... will have a verdict tomorrow, when Laura and her kids come for lunch! (See January 12, 2009 "The Ultimate Comfort Food" for the original recipe.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Birthday Chocolate from Whit!

My lovely daughter-in-law and I share a passion for chocolate. Her birthday gift to me of a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse with tiny chocolate chips.... well, what can I say? I can't wait for my next birthday, if only she will bake for me!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spicy Salmon Pasta

When Laura P. came for lunch the other day, we fixed a spicy salmon pasta dish!
Here's how: cook the salmon over medium heat with olive oil and lots of black pepper. Gently pull the salmon apart as it cooks, and drizzle fresh lime juice over it. Meanwhile, boil bow tie pasta for about 11 minutes; drain and set aside. When the pasta and salmon are prepared, cook the veggies in olive oil or butter: cherry tomatoes or sliced tomatoes, along with chopped spinach; add just a bit of Sambal Oelek chili paste. Combine all ingredients and mix well, over low heat. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. This is a complete meal, and it's gorgeous!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lighting is Everything!

Candlelight made a simple meal memorable...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Table for Four


This ganache from Whole Foods should be spelled: "l-o-v-e," for this dessert is definitely tangible love. Thanks to Chris and Whitney, for sharing this desperately delicious dessert!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bridal Luncheon

This table was set for Mary's bridal luncheon January 22, 2010. It was the first time I had set a table for company with no tablecloth or placemats. (I know this is shocking!) Instead, I used a gorgeous lace table runner made in Bulgaria, and given to me by Whitney. The paper lace napkins were from Repeat Boutique. Red roses and individual candles made for a lovely setting.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon

I've never been to a movie that made me want to go home and cook.... that is, until "Julie and Julia." I was so fascinated with the french stew Julie made, that I determined I too could successfully make it! Boeuf Bourguignon (rhymes with: hoof poor key nyoe) is one of Julia Child's most famous dishes. There are a number of variations of this amazing stew, and recipes can easily be found by searching Google.

After making Boeuf Bourguignon at least four times, here is what I discovered:

*Boneless rib meat is more tender than stew meat.
*The meat becomes even more tender (and flavorful) if it marinades in a nice red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, for several hours before coating in flour and browning it.
*This stew is heavenly when eaten by candlelight with someone special.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Laura's Gift

When I was sick, Laura and her children brought food for my soul: soup and homemade bread, along with jam. Her thoughtfulness made me feel better almost instantly! Ah, yes, food: tangible love....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Glorious Tomato!

We now have a water garden, not a vegetable garden... but I could not resist growing a potted tomato plant. Our yield: one glorious tomato! Of the other two, only one survived, and could not be compared to that first glorious tomato.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nancy's Sandwiches

Sometimes Nancy (brand) is the very best helper in my kitchen.... she makes the most wonderful mini quiches as well as spiral sandwiches. Salads with lace (sprouts) completed this lunch.