October 11, 2011

Cucumber Salad


Cucumber salad is a very light, refreshing side.  It is simple to make and easy to prepare.  It is a great side when preparing any type of Asian dish such as stir-fry, lettuce wraps, etc.  This recipe serves 4. 


Cucumber Salad

2 cucumbers

2 tsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 c. white wine

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. sesame seeds


Peel the skin from the cucumbers.  Slice the cucumbers in half, lengthwise.  Remove the seeds then slice each cucumber half into bite size, half moon shaped pieces.  In a bowl, mix together the sesame oil, sugar, white wine, and soy sauce.  Toss the cucumbers with the dressing mixture.  Place into serving bowl then top with toasted sesame seeds. 


September 2, 2011

Chicken Sliders with Sundried Tomato Mayo


Chicken Sliders are great as an appetizer, a snack or even a meal.  They would be an excellent treat for tailgating!  The sundried tomato mayo makes the sliders extra tasty.  This is a great recipe to use with leftover chicken and could be very easily doubled or even tripled for a crowd.     


Chicken Sliders 

(makes 6 sliders)

2 chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled

1 cup arugula

6 mini wheat buns

sundried tomato mayo (recipe below)


Season chicken breasts to your liking and grill.  Cut each chicken breast in half, then again lengthwise.  (If smaller side is already thin, use it, don’t cut it again)

Spread the sundried tomato mayo on both sides of each roll.  Place one chicken piece on each roll.  Top with a pinch of arugula and your slider is ready!


Sundried Tomato Mayo

3 T. light mayo (I always use Hellmans)

1 1/2 T. sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped

1/2 tsp. sundried tomato oil (from the jar)

1 tsp. garlic powder


Combine all ingredients.  Stir unil blended.


I hope you like these!

August 30, 2011

Mushroom Alfredo Lasagna



The alfredo sauce in this lasagna adds a creamy, flavorful taste with little cheese.  I used the base sauce to make a lasagna; although, you could mix the prepared sauce and the mushrooms with any other type of pasta to create a different type of pasta dish.  This recipe may appear a little more intimidating than what I would call “simple” (at least it looks it to me), but the ingredients are fairly basic things that you most likely have on hand already. 


Mushroom Alfredo Lasagna

24 oz. portobella mushrooms

1 stick butter

3 T. garlic

1 c. onion, chopped

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. thyme

1/2 cup flour

2 T. olive oil

3 cups milk (NOT skim)

1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese

1 pkg. whole wheat lasagna noodles, boiled according to package directions


Wash mushrooms and remove stems from the caps.  Slice mushroom caps and set aside.  Chop mushroom stems.  Melt 1 stick butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add chopped mushroom stems and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add 3 T. garlic and 1 cup of chopped onions.  Continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 tsp. paprika, and 1 tsp. thyme.  Add 1/2 cup flour and stir.  Slowly whisk in the 3 cups of milk.  Continue stirring until thickened.  Remove from heat and cover, stirring occassionally until ready to assemble the lasagna.

In a skillet, heat 2 T. olive oil.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender. 

In a baking dish, spoon 1/3 (about 1 1/2 cups) of the sauce.  Layer lasagna noodles over the sauce.  (You may have to cut some of the noodles to make fit)  Layer another 1 1/2 cups of the sauce, or enough to cover, over the noodles.  Pour half of the mushroom mixture over the sauce.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese over the mushrooms.  Repeat a layer of noodles, then sauce, then mushrooms, then top with remaining cheese. 

Bake, covered with foil, at 375 for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is bubbly on top. 




August 25, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts

Whether you think you are a brussel sprout fan or not, you have to try these!  They are great as an appetizer when served with the sauce recipe below.  You can cook the brussel sprouts on a grill or in the oven.  They are ready to serve when the bacon is crispy and the  sprouts are tender.      


Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts

About 2 lbs. brussel sprouts, washed and cut lengthwise

1 lb. bacon, your choice



Wash brussel sprouts and cut lengthwise.  Cut bacon into strips just long enough to wrap around brussel sprouts.  Secure bacon with a toothpick.  Put all brussel sprouts on a grill pan and place pan on a grill heated to medium-high heat.  Cover grill and cook for about 30 minutes, flipping once if needed.  The brussel sprouts can also be cooked in the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp. 

 Serve the brussel sprouts on a platter with the sauce on the side for dipping. 



8 oz. light sour cream

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. horseradish


Combine all ingredients. Keep chilled until ready to serve.


I hope you enjoy!

August 23, 2011

Strawberry Pudding Cake


Who doesn’t love a cool, light, refreshing dessert in the heat of the summer?  This is a great one to try!  It is very light, very moist, and really hits the spot.  I used light cool whip and sugar-free pudding along with a box of strawberry cake mix and strawberries.  So, as you can see, it is very easy too.  This would be perfect for a back to school barbeque or just a summer get together with family and friends.


Strawberry Pudding Cake

1 box strawberry cake, baked according to package directions

2 (3.4 oz) boxes sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, prepared according to package directions

2 cups sliced stawberries

light cool whip, thawed


Begin by baking the stawberry cake in either two round cake pans or one rectangular cake pan.  Let the cake cool then crumble into pieces.

Prepare the sugar-free instant vanilla pudding according to package directions.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

In a large truffle dish, layer the half of the pudding, then half of the cake crumbles, then half of the cool whip, and last, half of the strawberries.  Repeat the layers once more ending with the stawberries on top.  You want the cake to be very full because it will shrink down as it sets.  Keep it cold until ready to serve. 

Tip-Serve it the day you make it when it looks its best.  But, its still delicious a day or two later!

I hope you enjoy this end of the summer treat!

August 16, 2011

Salmon with Mango and Avacado


I love the colors, taste, and simplicity of this dish.  Salmon, as you may have already noticed, is probably me and Brad’s favorite fish and weeknight meal.  I love to use a little creativity in preparing our salmon.  This is a delicious recipe!  I love the fresh, cool taste of the mango and avacado with the simply baked salmon.  I served the salmon over a bed of sauteed spinach.  So healthy too! 


Salmon with Mango and Avacado

1 mango, diced

2 medium red tomatoes, diced

1/3 c. chopped purple onion

1 avocado, cut into bite size chunks

1/2 lemon, juice


olive oil

salt and pepper


Combine the diced mango, tomatoes, purple onion, and lemon juice.   Add avacodo last and toss gently.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Lay salmon on a jelly roll pan and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until desired doneness. 

Serve the salmon topped with the mango and avacodo mixture.   (Use the leftover mango and avacodo mixture as a salsa the next day!)

I hope you enjoy!

August 11, 2011

Roasted Garlic, Carmelized Onion and Arugula Pizza


This pizza is delicious as a main course, a side or an appetizer.  It has very few ingredients that give it just enough flavor.  The arugula adds a slight peppery taste to the sweet taste of the carmelized onions and roasted garlic.  Pizza allows you to be as creative as you want.  I love to make a variety of different kinds.  For this pizza, I used a Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough.  You can find it in a can at the grocery.  Pizza dough in a can is a good item to keep on hand.  You can pull it out anytime, top it with some leftover meats, vegetables and cheese and dinner is ready!    


Roasted Garlic, Carmelized Onion and Arugula Pizza

1 can Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough

1 bulb garlic

3 T. plus 1 tsp. olive oil

2 medium vidalia onions, thinly sliced

1 T. brown sugar

4 oz. Gruyere cheese

1 1/2 c. arugula


Cut garlic about 1/4 in. from top of bulb.  Cover it with 1 tsp. olive oil and wrap in foil.  Bake at 400 for 35 minutes or until soft to touch. 

In skillet over medium heat, heat 1 T. olive oil.  Add thinly sliced onions and cook for 8 minutes.  Add 1 T. brown sugar and continue cooking until carmelized and soft, stirring often.

Place dough onto pizza pan.  Bake dough at 400 for 5 minutes.  Remove dough from oven and spread 2 T. olive oil onto dough.  Squeeze garlic from each clove onto dough and spread evenly.  Top with carmelized vidalia onions.  Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of onions and garlic.  Bake at 400 for about 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust begins to brown.  Remove from oven and top with the arugula.  Serve!      


August 9, 2011

Penne with Spinach, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Pinenuts

This pasta recipe is full of delicious ingredients that work so well in one dish.  It is easy to prepare and filling.  Try it served with a simple green salad.  It is a great dish for a group of friends or a supper club.  If you use it to entertain, start by serving some roasted garlic with parmesan cheese and olive oil and a loaf of french bread.  I have to give the credit for this recipe to my neighbor, Sara.  She is very much a taste-tester for most others recipes, but this one was cooked at her house!  We love getting together to try new things and combine ideas that we will all enjoy.  She says that she is “learning” how to cook but it always comes out great! 


Penne with Spinach, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Pinenuts

12 oz. penne pasta (whole wheat if you like)

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

non-stick cooking spray

2 T. olive oil

1 T. garlic 

6 cups fresh spinach (2 10 oz. bags)

1/2   c . sundried tomatoes, packed in oil

salt and pepper to taste

 1 T. basil

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1/2 c. goat cheese

2 T. pine nuts


Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta, return to pot and set aside. 

Season each chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Heat a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Add chicken and cook until cooked all the way through, flipping throughout.  (about 7 minutes per side)  Slice the chicken into thin strips.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 T. olive oil then add the garlic, sundried tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.  Saute for about 3 minutes then add the spinach, cooking until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.  (Add spinach slowly and toss continuously.  Continue adding spinach as it begins to wilt.)    Add the olive oil and spinach mixture to the pasta.  Stir in goat cheese and 2 T. pine nuts.  Toss until cheese is melted. 

Transfer pasta into a serving dish and top with grilled chicken slices.  Sprinkle with fresh basil if desired.

I hope you enjoy!

August 4, 2011

Roasted Garlic with Parmesan Cheese and Olive Oil

Roasted Garlic, Parmesan Cheese and Olive Oil…You cannot get much better than that!!!  Over the weekend, I had dinner with some friends at an Italian restaurant.  This is what was served with the bread before the meal.  It reminded me that something so simple can be such a crowd pleaser.  I knew what I was coming home to make!  We all have to splurge every now and then on a little bread and olive oil, but the roasted garlic is the real treat!  Garlic is believed to help prevent heart disease and cancer.  It is low in calories and very easy to keep on hand.  Try this next time you need a simple appetizer or just want a little treat yourself! 

Roasted Garlic, Parmesan Cheese and Olive Oil

1 bulb of garlic

1 tsp. plus a few T. olive oil

2 T. parmesan cheese

French baguette or any other fresh french bread


To roast the garlic-

Cut off the top of the garlic bulb 1/4 inch from the top.  Wrap the bulb in aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil.  Wrap tightly and cook at 400 for 30-35 minutes.  Garlic is roasted when it feels soft.  Remove from oven  and let cool enough to touch. 

On a serving plate, squeeze out garlic from each clove.  Add 2 T. parmesan cheese and a few Tbs. olive oil to the plate.  Combine roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil.  Serve with a warm loaf of french bread. 

I know you will love it! 

August 2, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Try these Sweet and Spicy Pecans to add a little extra flavor to a salad or serve them with some cheese as an appetizer.  They have just enough sweetness and spice.  They are very simple to make and can be made ahead of time.  I love the combination of these pecans and blue cheese crumbles on a spring mix salad with balsamic vinegarette!


Sweet and Spicy Pecans

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup sugar plus 2 T. sugar

1 cup pecan halves

1 T. chili powder


Dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in 1 cup of warm water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain pecans and discard liquid.  Mix pecans with 2 T. sugar and 1 T. chili powder.  Toss to coat.  Lay pecans in a single layer on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. 

Try them in a salad with spring mix, blue chesse crumbles, red onion, and balsamic vinegarette.  So easy and so good!!