Tag Archives: cooking

Crab Salad

I stumbled across this incredibly fresh looking crab salad recipe on the Skinnytaste.com website.

I couldn’t wait to try it – and then try it again with my own modifications (recipe below) – and then share with you all!

After a couple rounds I’ve decided I love it AND the flavors are so wonderfully intense that a little goes a long way (when I used as a lettuce salad topping I could only eat about half). I’d recommend serving this on little buttery crackers as an appetizer or finger food for parties. It’s easy to make and comes together quickly but is also totally fancy and people will be in awe of your over-the-top party food!


8 oz lump crab meat (REAL crab, not Krab with a “K”)
1 avocado, chopped into smallish pieces
3 T finely chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 finely chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
2 T mayo (more or less depending on the volume of all your other ingredients, you want everything just very lightly coated – you may also sub olive oil for mayo as the original recipe suggests)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*Note: If you are serving on crackers as an appetizer, you want everything chopped very small so as to allow you to get a bit of all that goodness in each cracker serving. If you want to swing for the fences and eat this over lettuce as a meal, feel free to chop the ingredients larger.

-add all ingredients to a bowl, minus mayo, and toss to combine
-add enough mayo to lightly cover everything and gently toss
-taste and adjust any flavors according to your preference
-top crackers with crab salad mixture and serve cold



Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus is a perfect springtime veggie, and being ‘in season’ it can often be found in grocery stores for ridiculously low prices.

With Easter dinner right around the corner, here’s a simple side dish that’s a wonderful compliment to any main dish offering.


-1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
-Olive oil
-Garlic powder
-Black pepper
-Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

-Place asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil (you want all spears to have a light coat of oil)
-Season with garlic, salt and pepper (to your taste preferences) and toss to distribute seasonings
-Place in 400 degree oven for 10-15 min
-Remove from oven, stir and sprinkle with cheese
-Return to oven for 5-10 minutes
-Serve hot

I hope this holiday weekend finds you renewed with the promises that come from our RISEN Savior!


Baked Potato Wedges


There are about a million different ways to make potatoes; ranging from few ingredients, little time and super easy to…well…everything opposite of that.

Here is a basic (i.e. few ingredients, little time, super easy) potato recipe that can be served just like this OR dressed up with lots of different toppings, dipping sauces, etc.


-Large baking (russet) potatoes, peeled, cut into wedges
-Cooking oil (I used avocado oil because it withstands higher baking temps without damaging the oil, but you use what you have on hand)
-Seasoned Salt

-If you have time, allow your potato wedges to soak in cold water for a bit. 30 minutes is ideal, but you can skip this step all together if time just doesn’t permit. Soaking will help pull out some of the starch and allow your wedges to get crispier when baking.
-Heat oven to 425 degrees
-Drain wedges (if you soaked them first) and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel
-Place wedges into a bowl or baggie and drizzle with cooking oil (how much you need depends on how many wedges are in play here, but you want them to be lightly coated)
-Add seasoned salt and pepper (again, amount of each depends on number of wedges AND your personal preference)
-Toss together, then place on a baking sheet
-Cook until wedges are golden brown, approximately 30 minutes, turning part way through cooking

It’s a simple recipe and it pairs well with mostly all meat dishes BUT if you want to change this up from side-dish to appetizer or snack, pile up wedges when they are done cooking, top with lots of cheese and put back under the broiler to melt. Then you can finish topping with whatever other ingredients trip your trigger: sour cream, guac, tomatoes, salsa, bacon, shredded chicken, ground beef…OR…you could make one of a million sauces for dipping…OR…the possibilities are really endless…


Slow Roasted Beef with Gravy

Sunday is the perfect day to slow cook something delicious in the oven, especially during cold weather season.

The oven warms the house. Delicious aromas fill the air. And when it’s all said and done, you have a hardy meal to sit down to and enjoy.

Yesterday I prepared a beef roast with gravy. Just a few easy steps and allow the oven to do the heavy lifting for you.


-1-2 lb beef roast, cut into large chunks (I used bottom round, but recommend you use whatever is on sale)
-2 T olive oil
-1 med onion, chopped
-2 large cloves garlic, minced
-2 cups beef broth
-2 T whole wheat flour
-3/4 cup milk
-salt & pepper to taste

-heat olive oil in dutch oven, add onions and garlic, cook until soft
-move onions to the side, add beef and brown on both sides
-pour in beef broth
-pop in 300 degree oven for 2’ish hours
-remove from oven, scoop beef chunks out of liquid and set aside
-return dutch oven to hot burner and bring liquid to a boil
-whisk together flour and milk, and slowly add to boiling liquid, stirring constantly
-allow mixture to thicken, add salt and pepper to taste, then return beef to dutch oven
-drop heat to low, cover and finish cooking while you prepare the other side dishes for this meal

That’s it! I’m guessing my actual time commitment to this dish was about 25 minutes, total, including the bits of clean-up I did for the initial and then finishing prep work.

Wishing you a wonderful week!
Happy Monday!

Red Lentils (Side Dish Recipe)

Most of the meals I plan include some sort of side that consists of either rice or potatoes. I love rice and like potatoes. My husband loves potatoes and tolerates rice. It becomes a delicate balance as I have to draw a line somewhere otherwise risk becoming short order chef — which my life just doesn’t allow the time and energy for.

Back in early Sept I attended a women’s retreat with my church and Saturday night we were served a most delicious meal of roasted chicken and vegetables, alongside lentils. Having never had lentils before, except for maybe in soup (which is where I discovered lentils are typically used) my mind was blown. They were incredible! I HAD to figure out how to make them myself.

Fast forward a couple of months…I took my first run at lentils in side dish fashion. I’m quiet pleased to say they turned out as incredible as I remembered them from the retreat. And, what might be even better is that my husband is 100% on board. FINALLY I have another staple to add in the potatoes and rice rotation!


1 cup red lentils, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
2 T olive oil (or you could use butter)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (could use a can of diced as well)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh pepper
salt, to taste

-heat oil over medium heat in deep skillet, saute onion and garlic until onions are beginning to brown
-add tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes
-season with turmeric, cumin and fresh pepper
-add lentils and chicken stock, cook, uncovered, until lentils are desired firmness (30’ish minutes), stirring occasionally
-add salt to taste and serve warm

There will be a little bit of sauciness left after the lentils have reached their desired doneness (some people like them a touch firmer while others prefer them pretty soft – the choice is yours – I tested mine along the way to determine how ‘done’ I preferred them). This sauciness is wonderful to soak up with some grilled chicken so don’t be afraid to flood your plate!

Lentils are rich in dietary fiber, a good source of protein and folate, and high in iron. They certainly have a lot more going for them than my beloved rice…or potatoes.

It’s so awesome when an adventure in the kitchen turns into something that will be a frequent flyer in your meal planning. Give this one a try – it’s wonderful – and easy!

Light at the end of the tunnel, the work week is nearly over!
Have a great weekend!

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This soup recipe is one of my absolute favorites. There aren’t many soups that get a repeat appearance in my house through ‘soup season’ because there are too many good soups and not enough time, but this one will have it’s day in the cool weather at least twice…maybe three times!

Having pre-cooked chicken and wild rice in the freezer helps this one come together in pretty short order – but it’s not a pre-requisite, so if you don’t have these prepped and in waiting just be sure to tack on a little extra time on the front end to boil the chicken and the rice. These don’t come into play until near the end of the recipe so there is prep and initial stages of cooking happening during which the chicken and rice can be prepared as well.


2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup celery, chopped small
1/2-3/4 cup carrot, shredded
1 green pepper, chopped (note: in the picture you will notice I used red bell pepper for this batch because I had them out of the garden to be used up. It was good but not as much so as the green — stick with green if you can)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T whole wheat flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup cream
1/3 cup sliced slmonds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Saute veggies in butter/oil
Add flour, salt & pepper – stir to combine and cook for approx 1 minute
Whisk in stock and water
Bring up heat to a boil, add chicken and rice to the pot
Cover, drop heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve (skip this step if you are serving immediately)
Just prior to serving, stir in cream, parsley and almonds
Taste and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) as needed – I always add more of this, in small increments until it tasts just perfect but everyone’s palate is different so there’s no specific instruction on what the exact measurements would be.

Tip: this recipe can be made in advance, up until addition of the cream, etc., and frozen. If you are someone who likes to do freezer prep cooking – add this one to your list! On the day of serving, simply thaw and warm over the stove. Add in the last ‘just prior to serving” ingredients and you will be all set to go!

There is something about the addition of the toasted almonds that just send this one over the top. It’s ridiculously good. I don’t even mind eating the leftovers every day for an entire week afterwards — sometimes even for breakfast.

Happy Souping!

Cheese Wontons

One of my favorite things about going out for Chinese food is the cheese wontons – or crab rangoon, depending on the restaurant. If it wouldn’t be completely ridiculous, I’d make a meal of cheese wontons. We all know that would be completely ridiculous, though, so I don’t.

What I do, however, is make Chinese dishes on a semi-regular basis at home so it only made sense that I set out to re-create a restaurant favorite to serve alongside our home cooked Chinese dishes. What I’ve come up with is pretty spectacular!

They aren’t fried, so they aren’t exactly the same as the restaurant but these are special in their own amazing way. Same as at the restaurant, I’d like to make a meal of ’em….if it wouldn’t be completely ridiculous…which it would be….so I don’t.

Wonton Wrappers
Cream Cheese: half – 1/3 a block (room temperature)
Minced Onion: 1 Tbsp
Worchestershire Sauce: 1 Tbsp
Garlic Powder: couple dashes
Accent Seasoning: couple dashes (this isn’t completely necessary, so if you’re avoiding MSG, skip it. If you can tolerate a little MSG  in your diet- definitely include – it will knock your socks off!).

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Re-constitute the minced onion in a few drops of water (an easy way to accomplish this is to put the onion on a large spoon, dribble just a touch of water on to the spoon/onions from faucet and let sit):
Combine cream cheese, minced onion, worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, and Accent seasoning
Spread wonton wrappers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet
Place a small amount of cream cheese mixture in middle of each wrapper:
Wet edges with a small amount of water (I just used my finger, no need to create extra dishes by using a brush), fold into a triangle and press edges together.
Lightly spray the tops of each cheese-fill wonton with olive oil
Bake for 15’ish minutes, until the wrappers are crunchy and light golden brown:

You could play with this recipe and make it all your own. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit. Addition of some crab, and/or fresh green onion would be fabulous as well.

Also worth noting — these can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge and cooked when you are ready to eat them. OR they also freeze well — so make a whole heck of a lot and tuck them away in the freezer for another time.

Easy. Delicious. Healthier than the restaurant version. Serve alongside your favorite Chinese dish or as an appetizer…or, if you really feel so inclined, make a meal of ’em, I won’t judge 🙂


PS – there’s a giveaway going on at the blog right now and literally no one has signed up to win. I find it hard to believe that there aren’t 10 people out there who don’t want a iTunes gift card! Here’s the link for the post, in case you simply missed it in the hustle of your typical day.

Drunken Noodles

This is one of those recipes that I can take absolutely no credit for, but it’s amazing so I couldn’t resist sharing. All the credit really goes to the blogger of The Cozy Apron – you can find this recipe as well as lots of other goodies by clicking this link. I may not have followed the recipe exactly (as I rarely do), so my version is below.

A wonderful deviation from the usual pasta recipes and one that will make good use of some of those end of season peppers and onions from the garden – Oh! and your fresh basil and parsley too!


1 lb nitrate free sausage
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 T parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, julienned
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tsp Italian Seasoning, divided
1 small pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine (or white cooking wine)
8 oz egg noodles
Note: the original recipe calls for Papardelle noodles, which I couldn’t locate initially so I used your standard egg noodles and they worked just fine. I finally located Papardelle noodles at Trader Joes. They are these long, wide noodles that add some fun to the dish – but certainly any egg noodle is will do.

-Brown sausage in large skillet (you will want bigger chunks so be careful not to break up the sausage too terribly much). Season with 1 tsp Italian seasoning
-Once susage is browned, remove from pan, using a slotted spoon to reserve the drippings
-Lower heat to medium, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add in onion and cook low and slow until onions caramelize (this can take 10-15 minutes, but it’s soooo important to the overall flavoring of the dish, so exercise patience)
-Add bell peppers, salt, fresh black pepper, and remaining tsp of Italian seasoning.
-Begin cooking the noodles, according to package directions
-Once the peppers begin to soften, add white wine and allow to reduce
-Next, pour diced tomatoes and juice into pan. Stir gently, Cover pan with a lid and turn off the heat.
-Once noodles are cooked, drain well, add to sausage/veggie mixture along with the parsley and basil, toss together.
-Serve immediately

This dish adequately covers the usual carbs, veggies and proteins that I look for when I plan dinners, but if your diet can handle some additional carbs, garlic bread (maybe even cheesey garlic bread!  Oh gosh, YES! Cheesy garlic bread) on the side can’t be argued.

Oh! And if this recipe doesn’t look like it will fit your dietary needs due to the noodles – omit them all together. This recipe is still killer – with or without the noodles!

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Dill Memories

Last evening I made a recipe I found on Pinterest (you can link to it by clicking here). Not only did this sauce have incredible flavor, but it brought back memories from my young childhood.

When I was young I would help my grandmother can dill pickles. I would sit on the counter and drop a clove of garlic into the jars as well as a sprig of dill.

While I’ve always held that memory close to my heart, last night while making this recipe (which also called for fresh dill) I found myself right back in my grandmothers kitchen – eating the cucumbers about as fast as she could stuff them into jars, to later become pickles.

This meal was satisfying on so many levels…I urge you to try…

Finely chop an onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 a pound of mushrooms.
Add to a pan with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, saute until soft.
**This next step I didn’t do while cooking, but will the next time around**Once the veggies are cooked, add 1-2 tbsp flour to the pan and cook for a bit.
Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, and 2-3 tbsp fresh dill – finely chopped.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

I then poured this sauce over Quinoa Pasta (they make that now, it’s really exciting) and mixed in some cooked shrimp.

photo(30)Aside from the fact that the sauce was real thin (hence the reason for the flour, a thickening agent) this dish was super yummy.

Dill pairs well with seafood so any fish would be incredible with this sauce over the top, and if you’re not a fan of seafood chicken would be great too.

Do you have any other recipes that use fresh dill? I’d love to take another tip down memory lane…

Italian Stuffed Shells

Sometimes I feel like I work harder when I get home from work than I do at my job-for-a-paycheck. Last night was no exception. After I finished my day at the office, and got through all my work at home, I was exhausted! If only I could figure out how to collect payment for all that ‘unpaid work’ that comes with running a household!

Anyway, while I put together dinner for last night, and prepped for dinner tonight, it occurred to me that I have never shared this recipe with you (or, at least I don’t think I have). I find that odd because it’s one of my favorite Pinterest found recipes and I’ve made it several times. I figure I should remedy that and share today….

The link to the original recipe can be found here. Of course, I almost always change up a recipe a bit so here goes:

1 lb Italian sausage
1 Tbsp (or so) garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, juice included
1-1 ½ cups ricotta or cottage cheese (I’ve used both, both are delish, go with your gut on this one. I’ve also used cottage cheese with chives which gives the dish an extra somethin’ special…feel free to experiment!)
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and juices squeezed out
Large pasta shells (up to 16 shells, depending on your mission, I’ll explain later)
Italian blend cheese

-Start by cooking your large pasta shells to just short of al dente. They will continue to cook in the oven so it’s okay if they are a tad under-done when they come out of the boiling water
-Brown sausage in large skillet with garlic
-Add tomatoes, juice and all (I went to the pantry for some home canned tomatoes, but store bought work just as well)
-Cook for about 10 minutes – you will notice this mix is very soupy from the tomato juices










-Drain sausage/garlic/tomato mixture into the baking dish where the shells will go once stuffed (this keeps the shells from sticking to the bottom of the dish but it also offers opportunity for the shells to soak up more of that tomato-y goodness as they bake – the original recipe doesn’t call for this step, but I’ve found I love it, and it’s a good use of that extra juice that is just too much when it comes time to stuff the shells).
-Return sausage/garlic/tomato mixture to the pan and add the ricotta or cottage cheese and the spinach – I turn the burner off at this point, the ingredients will warm through but the mixture will be cooled enough that when the stuffing goes into the shells you don’t risk 3rd degree burns.








-Stuff the shells and place in the baking dish










-Top with Italian cheese blend – I use quite a bit of cheese because cheese is dairy, dairy is on the food pyramid, we are to eat according to the food pyramid, and frankly cheese just makes the world a happier place – in my opinion.










-Bake in a 375 degree oven, uncovered, until cheese is melted and everything has had an opportunity to re-heat back through.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I prepped dinner last evening for this evening. This is a wonderful make ahead dish which comes in handy during those busy times in life. When I get home from work tonight it will be easy enough to warm the oven and toss this baby in for a quick, fuss free meal.
You might also notice that I made only 10 stuffed shells this time around, but the entire recipe makes about 16 shells worth. The stuffing mix freezes really well, so, that’s what happened with the remainder. This makes for an even simpler throw together meal in the future.

Dontcha just love when opportunities arise that make life simpler?