Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Capri Salad

This recipe can be made very quickly, and is a very nice appetizer for an Italian meal.

I have sweet basil growing like crazy in my little garden (emphasis on LITTLE-- only THREE PLANTS!) but it excites me, because my gardens, even herb gardens, don't normally do well.

*I used about 5 Roma tomatoes, sliced (can also use beefsteak tomatoes)
* 4 1/2 oz. mozzerella cheese (sliced, fresh would be best, but I had shredded on hand, and it was fine)
*about 12 black olives, sliced (or however many you think you would like)
*8 basil leaves, torn, if large
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1T. olive oil
 salt & pepper to tasete

Slice tomatoes. Either cut Mozarella in slices or sprinkle on if shredded, over the tomatoes. Save some for adding to the top.
Slice olives into rings and place on top of cheese.
Add some of the basil (same some for garnish)
Top with cheese.

Broil in a pre-heated oven for about 3-4 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn't burn)
When done, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and the oil that have been mixed together, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.




'm giving away these 4 cookbooks on Friday, June 28th at noon, and all you have to do to win is go the to EVERYTHING IN MODERATION page on facebook, LIKE the page and shared the contest status.

CLICK HERE to get to the page and maybe YOU will be the winner!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

For the love of QUINOA

I am rather new to the world of Quinoa. I didn't even know for the longest time that it is pronounced 'Keen-wah", and I was calling it "Quin-noah"...just like it's spelled. Go figure.

I LOVE this stuff!  First of all, it's  a SUPER FOOD! Meaning, it could almost stand alone as far as nutrition goes..well almost. I don't  eat diet food, but I love healthy food. And this is so much better for our bodies than white rice, which Quinoa can replace in most recipes.

For those of you who haven't tried it, it is similar to rice, but with a nutty flavor. It is bland on its own (like rice) so seasoning is required.  You can fix this sooooooo many delicious ways (just google QUINOA RECIPES and see for yourself.

One of my favorite ways, is to prepare it with savory seasonings to go alongside a chicken dish. Which is what I did here.

For this recipe, you will need:

1-2 T. butter (I used REAL organic butter--no margarine, PLEASE!)
1 cup UNCOOKED Quinoa (I used the organic, and it needs to be rinsed first.)
2 T. fresh chopped garlic
2 cups broth (I used organic chicken broth, but you can also use vegetable broth)
2 T. FRESH parsley
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
onion ( about a half of a white one- or more)

Melt butter in skillet and add quinoa. Toast it (takes about 5 minutes in the skillet, while stirring around so it doesn't burn). Add garlic and Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer and cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of seasonings and cover again and cook for at least 5 minutes more.
Serve warm.

For the chicken, I just placed  some butter in my skillet, and sprinkled with Italian seasoning ( a spice jar) and cooked till done.  I steamed the broccoli.

To make it even  healthier, you could replace the butter in both recipes with olive oil, which I sometimes do...but not tonight. ;)


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Bread

I baked up this DELICIOUSLY moist loaf of  fresh strawberry bread for bake sale. To  be a bit different, I  sliced it, and arranged it on a plate with some strawberries dipped in almond bark. I took this photo on my way out the door, and  shared it on facebook, and when I arrived at the sale, the workers told me someone had already come to purchase it, so they put it back for the sweet lady!

It is an old recipe I've made for many years. Not sure where it originated, but it's worth your time to put this one together.

I started with:

 *1 1/2 cups FRESH strawberries (I used organic ones--pesticide free!)
Wash them and slice them and toss with 1/2 cup sugar and set aside. (The sugar will draw the juice from the berries)

* Beat together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter, melted.

In another bowl, mix 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well.  Add berries at this point and blend.

*Fold in  cup  1/2 chopped pecans (Optional) *I did not use them in this particular recipe.

 Pour into a greased 9x5" loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 min. (or until knife inserted in center comes out clean).
Invert pan and cool on wire rack.

Can serve immediately plain, or with powdered sugar sprinkled on top or with a glaze.

For a glaze, mash additional berries with 1 tsp. lemon juice and powdered sugar. Blend. (Serve on WARM bread.

This really is a very moist sweet bread, not too sweet, but very refreshing. A change of pace.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Frozen Lemonade Pie

This pie actually tastes like lemon cheesecake. Very refreshing on a hot, muggy, sticky day that  summer can throw at you- especially if you live in the south, or here in So. Illinois!

This was a simple and delicious recipe that won't cause you to break a sweat while preparing it.
It will cool you off from the inside out....which comes in very handy at my age! It goes down to where the hot flashes begin!

Give it a try  while enjoying these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!


1 (6 oz. can) frozen lemonade
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (10 oz. ) tub cool whip, divided
1 graham cracker pie crust
*1 pair of pants that is one size larger! (Optional)

Put lemonade, cream cheese and milk in a blender, and whip until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl and fold in 8 oz. Cool Whip. Pour into crust, top with remaining Cool whip and freeze 2 hours.

Serve frozen and refrigerate leftovers...if there are any.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Awhile back , I was asked to prepare a couple of simple, beat the heat recipes on our local news morning show (WSILTV-3).

What a blast hanging with this morning crew who made my time there enjoyable, and made me feel at ease. I shared a recipe for my LAZY BERRY SALAD.

 I call it a LAZY salad because it's for the lazy cook, or  the overwhelmed cook with no time for getting a meal together but would still like a nice lunch or light dinner to serve.

It's summertime...it's OK to be lazy! The only work you will have to do here is drive to the supermarket. Unless you can get someone else to do that for ya.

Purchase a bag of "Lazy lettuce". You know, the lettuce(all varieties) that come pre-washed and bagged, ready to eat.  I prefer the ORGANIC ones,  because, well, I'm not a fan of eating pesticides.

Add some sliced, fresh strawberries. (Again, spring for the organic ones, if you can.)  I slice my berries with an egg slicer, because, you got it,  I'm LAZY, AND, the  egg slicer makes nice, uniform slices, if you're in to that sort of thing.

Add a small container of Feta Cheese (about 4 oz. or more if you like feta).

Add a small bag of sliced almonds (too lazy to try to slice my own! Goodness- I'm not Martha Stewart, here. Way too LAZY for that!

Add some pre-cooked chunks of grilled chicken (or rotisserie chicken from the supermarket that a non-lazy worker has already risen early just to prepare it for the lazy people).

Serve with pre-pared bottled Raspberry or Strawberry vinaigrette (cuz you're too lazy too make your own ;)

Serve on a brightly colored PAPER PLATE cuz dish washing is out of the question on a lazy day!

Enjoy your lazy day, with this lazy  girl recipe. I hope I didn't tire you from causing you to read the directions.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan

I have been roasting LOTS of vegetables, lately. I think it's my favorite way to eat them. It's one the most healthy ways to cook them and it really locks in the flavor of the veggie.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, and although I've roasted cauliflower before and liked it, this recipe caused me to LOVE it!  I think the difference was the added shredded Parmesan cheese broiled on top at the end.  this was another one of those addicting-but-good-for you-recipes. (I like when I find those, because, as you know, I DON'T like "diet food"!

My daughter-in-law turned up her nose when I first offered her a bite. I coaxed and coaxed her until she finally gave in...then she was pleasantly surprised and helped herself to many bites thereafter!

You GOTTA gives this one a try!


1 head cauliflower
(separate florets then rinse under running water;pat dry.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease large casserole dish.

Chop 1 T. fresh parsley, then  set aside for later.

2-3T. minced garlic
3 T. olive oil

Add the oil and garlic to the florets and coat well.

Add florets to the dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring at the halfway point; then remove.

Turn the oven to the broil setting. Sprinkle with 1/3-1/2 cup  SHREDDED  Parmesan Cheese

Broil for 3- 5 minutes. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. *I broiled for only 3 minutes.

Serve warm and ENJOY!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Roasted Edamame...A healthy and DELICOUSLY addictive appetizer

Really. Who woulda'  thunk it?

I do NOT like diet food...I don't drink diet soda--never use fake sweeteners, I like REAL food!  But I do enjoy HEALTHY food and recipes. And I'm  trying to incorporate more of those into my tried and true list of favorites, while not missing out on my not-so-healthy dishes, that I intend to enjoy...In moderation (of course).

This summer I vowed to tried some veggies that I've never tried before, and this was one of them.

The humble edamame.

This dish was SIMPLE, only a few ingredients and truly is addicting!

You gotta give it a try. It's cures the salty craving, has a crunchy outside and chewy (not gooey) inside. Best served immediately from the oven, but you can enjoy later, but it will lose its crunch.

For the recipe, you will need

1 bag of frozen, peeled edamame.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cracked pepper

That's IT!

Run warm water over the edamame once removed from bag and placed into a drainer. Then place between two clean dishtowels to remove the moisture.  Toss with the oil, then the S&P and bake and 375 degrees for 30-40 min. (Stirring every 15 min. or so.)  When done, many will be brown, and "dry" looking, and you will hear a "hiss" from the steam escaping.  Immediately remove to a small serving dish and enjoy!

Grilled Hungry Man Pork Chops (an encore presentation)

Here's a great grill recipe to make to delight your Dad for Father's Day--and, if you live in an area that has high heat and humidity (as southern Illinois normally does), this will keep you from using your oven and heating things up even more!

Humidity and I are NOT close friends- I never did like her.

She's cruel.

She zaps my strength, she makes my hair all frizzy and she makes my house unbearable when I want to cook a large meal!

So, when my old enemy rears her ugly head, I let my old friend Mr. Grill do most of my cooking.

I made these delicious and thick-as-a-limb pork chops on the grill and although I only cooked two chops, two of my sons showed up and the chops were so large, it fed all of us!

I served them with some grilled red and green peppers, fried potatoes, and baked beans (from a can warmed up in the microwave- I wasn't about to turn on my oven!)

If you have a hungry man that needs his belly filled and it's too hot in your kitchen, try this delicious dish.


2 GINORMOUS pork chops!
Rub with generous amounts of Garlic salt and
pepper to suit your tastes.

Cut up strips of red and green pepper.
Sprinkle peppers with olive oil and salt/pepper and place in foil packet.

Put meat directly on med. flame on grill. Place veges in packet on grill.

Turn meat with tongs when brown, then turn again. Mine took at least 25 on my gas grill because they were so thick, but you may need to adjust the time on your grill.
Actually, I only prepare the food, then take it out to Big Al, and he grills it for me- bless his heart!

When done, arrange peppers around the meat on your serving tray.

Call for your Big Hungry men to come and get it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm loving me some good (and easy) steaks!

Father's Day is Sunday.

Want to impress your DADDY? Grill some FABULOUS steaks for him!
This photo is a cropped one from a reader, STEPH, who tried my recipe and gave it two thumbs up!

This is THE  best steak marinade around, shared by our local barber, V.E.  which has made me the "Steak Queen" in these parts.

Even GRILL MASTERS have complimented the  perfect taste and especially the TENDERNESS of the steaks.

The tenderizer called for in the recipe is a MUST, especially for a cheaper cut of meat. You won't even recognize your steaks, if you use this recipe instead of just slapping them on the grill with S&P.


1 clove garlic, mashed
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oil
2 T. water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ACCENT (seasoning AKA MSG--an alternative would be this--click here  )
Adolph's meat tenderizer

Use tenderizer as directed. Combine ingredients and cover meat with this sauce. Marinade at least 3 hours-overnight. Baste while grilling.

*Note, if you will be basting, be sure to set out a little sauce to use for basting that has not come in contact with the meat.

You must try this one!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chicago-Style Hotdogs for Father's Day

This is another simple recipe that the kids can help put together for Dad--especially if he is a baseball fan. This little lunch consisted of the hotdogs, and peanuts (needed to get some Cracker Jacks), some chips, POWERADE for the beverage and a baseball cupcake and Baby Ruth candybar for dessert. I purchased the little picnic set at Wal-Mart, complete with condiment dispenser, hotdog basket and liners.

 Except for the cooking of the hotdog, the kids could help put this altogether for Dad...and a great gift idea would be to throw in some tickets for a ballgame or purchase a t-shirt of his favorite team as I did. GO CARDINALS!

 I'm really not a hotdog lover, mainly because they are not healthy at all, so again, enjoy  in MODERATION. But trust me--you'll never eat a hotdog any other way again, once you taste this one!

The secret begins in the hotdog itself. DON'T be tempted to save a little $$ and buy the cheapest ones out there...BIG MISTAKE! Also, ALL-BEEF wieners are the way to go.  My favorite brand is this one:

Costs a bit more, but so worth it!

Boil water and then reduce heat and place dogs in to cook for 5 minutes, until done and remove.

You begin buillding  with a poppyseed bun (for the traditional recipe--but I could not get my hands on a bag, here, so I had to go with the plain)

Add 1 T. yellow mustard.
1 T. sweet green relish (the brighter green , the better)
1 T. chopped onion
4 Tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers *I didn't add them for my Dad
1 dash celery salt

You'll notice that no ketchup is on this dog...you won't miss it!




This recipe came to me directly from the folks at Country Bob's. They sent me a few sample bottles of their sauce and a recipe book filled with delicious recipes to try. This is one that was a big hit at our house.  This would be perfect to serve  as a side with BarBq meals, especially on Father's Day.

You've gotta try this recipe- you're gonna' love it! It has a zing to it!


1 (53 oz.) can of pork and beans (half of liquid drained)
1/2 lb. fried bacon
2 cups (I used one bottle) of COUNTRY BOB'S ALL PURPOSE SAUCE
1 small onion finely chopped (I used Vidalia)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped.

Combine all ingredients and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
Makes 8 servings (or only 4 if your bunch eats like MY bunch!)

Enjoy this special day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

For a larger view , click on photo

With Father's Day approaching, I thought I'd share a simple recipe that I made for Super Bowl party that would make a great appetizer for Dads.

This spicy, but no-too-hot dish would  be a great dish to serve alongside a Mexican inspired menu of tacos, enchiladas, or a spicy grilled steak or burger.

*Remember, when cutting and seeding hot peppers, use rubber or plastic gloves and avoid touching you face. (Trust me on this one. Just do it.)

You will need:

25 medium fresh jalapeno peppers (don't worry, they're not that pricey)
1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened
3 cups (12 oz.)  finely shredded cheddar cheese
1- 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 bacon strips, cook and crumbled to sprinkle on top, if desired. (I did not on this particular day)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes. In large saucepan, boil peppers in water for 5-10 min.(the longer you boil peppers, the milder they become). Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside.

In small mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, cheddar cheese and the sauce. Spoon 2 teaspoonfuls into each pepper half and sprinkle with bacon (if using). Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees  for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Makes about 4 dozen.....and they will ALL be eaten!


*recipe adapted from Taste of Home CELEBRATIONS cookbook

Monday, June 10, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes

I love a good sandwich. When I come across a GREAT recipe for a sandwich that is interesting, relatively simple and not so costly, I can't help myself-- I'm gonna give it a go!

I found this little gem, From Rachel Ray, and made it for my bunch who LOVED it- devoured it-- left no prisoners (AKA "crumbs" on the plate) when they were finished! I also prepared this one on our local  morning news show and received rave reviews from the staff there who tasted it.

The secret? The steak sauce and the beef broth add a pricier beef taste to this sandwich. This is a more economical version of the  traditional Philly Steak and Cheese.

Your guys will LOVE this one-- whether or not they are from Philadelphia. Here in Illinois, it's a keeper!

Give it a try!

You will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 dinner rolls
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Toast the rolls and set aside.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Raspberry (Shortcut) Shortcake

A very simple summer dessert...perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

This RASPBERRY SHORTCAKE saves a few steps steps by using  with BISQUICK. Still delicious, just without the fuss.

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees


Rinse/drain a container of raspberries and sprinkle with sugar to suit your taste. (about 2-3 T.) Set aside to soak up the goodness!

Combine 2 1/3 cups Bisquick, with 3 Tbs. sugar. Add 1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk) and 3 Tbs.melted butter. Stir with a fork to a soft dough. Mix vigorously 20 strokes. Spread into a greased 8 " round pan. Bake 15-17 minutes till done. Top with fruit and whipped cream. * You can use Cool Whip but whipped heavy cream is ALWAYS better, only needing a little bit of sugar added. 

Best served warm. 

*Note:  Raspberries and/or Strawberries can be used in this recipe, however, I always recommend purchasing ORGANIC berries.  Pesticides are nearly impossible to wash off of berries such as these. I bought organic berries on sale and they were no higher than the regular berries, but sans the pesticides.


Citrus Herb chicken with Brocolli

I purchased a WILLIAMS SONOMA Cookbook, WEEKNIGHT FRESH and FAST, and it is FILLED with wonderful, mouth-watering recipes.

This was included. I traded the turkey cutlets for chicken, and used regular broccoli instead of the baby broccoli that the recipe called for.  It was wonderful!

As you can see, I served it with a side of Quinoa, a healthy Organic salad and some EZEKIEL bread and the entire meal was devoured by my bunch.

It's one of the meals that is so tasty and fresh, and you'll  leave the table feeling satisfied, but not bloated and miserable. ;)

I hope you give it a try.

1 large orange
1 to 1/4 lb. Chicken breast cutlets
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. minced fresh
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground
pepper, to taste
minced onion, to taste (about ½ cup)
3 Tbs. olive oil
All-purpose flour for dredging

3/4 lb. baby broccoli spears
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Finely grate the zest from the orange. Squeeze the juice from the orange and
measure 1/4 cup juice. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the orange zest
and the 1 Tbs. tarragon, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil.

Dredge half of the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Add the chicken
to the pan and sauté until cooked through and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per
side. Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum
foil. Warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in the pan and repeat to dredge and cook the
remaining chicken.
In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.
Add the shallot/onion and sauté until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the baby
broccoli and broth. Cover and boil until the broccoli is just crisp-tender, about
5 minutes. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper. Using tongs, transfer the
broccoli to the platter and arrange alongside the chicken.
Add the 1/4 cup orange juice to the pan and boil, stirring frequently, until the liquid is
reduced and almost syrupy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the 1 tsp. Tarragon.

Divide the chicken and broccoli among 4 warmed plates, pour the sauce over the
and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2011)


Let me introduce you to a $10,000 sandwich!

That's right...this CARRIBEAN GRILL, a fancy schmancy gourmet grilled cheese earned its creator, Ashley Berman   $10,000 when Dupont went on the search for the greatest grilled cheese in America, back in 04.

I found this little treasure in an old food magazine I have,  CUISINE AT HOME, and knew I had to try it. My crew(3 Irishmen, 1 Italian and 1 Mexican) loved it, &baby granddaughter's mouth was watering, but she has to wait till she gets some teeth to try this one.

This is  very different, quite refreshing and ingredients are so interesting and  blend very well together.

I served it with tomato soup and a salad , with someof the extra salsa on the side (which some put on their sandwich, and others added to the salad.

Give it a try!


  • For Mango Salsa:

  • 1/2 mango, 1/4 inch diced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • For Sandwich:

  • 3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 8 slices fresh Italian bread
  • 8 slices (8 oz) Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey mustard


In a small bowl, mix together all of the salsa ingredients. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the butter and curry together. Spread 2 tbsp of the butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread on your work surface, buttered side down. Spread the mustard on the bread. Place about 2 tbsp of the mango salsa on the bread followed by the cheese.  Place the remaining 4 bread slices on top, buttered side up.

Add the remaining curry butter to a Teflon-coated non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary) and cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Uncover and turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing very firmly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Turn once more, press with a spatula, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut diagonally and serve with extra salsa on the side.