Thursday, September 21, 2023



This gazpacho has the perfect balance of flavors. Try making it with some end-of-summer, super-sweet tomatoes — there just isn't any substitute.

Prep Time: 45 mins              Additional Time: 2 hrs.                 Total Time: 2 hrs. 45 mins



4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced

½ English cucumber, peeled and finely diced

½ cup finely diced red bell pepper

¼ cup minced green onion

1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground cumin

1 pinch dried oregano

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil



1- Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion,  jalapeño, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

2- Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Cover and purée until smooth. Pour puréed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.

3- Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the blender. Cover, turn blender on, and purée until smooth. Return puréed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.


The key to this panzanella is frying the bread cubes in loads of olive oil in a skillet, which obviously makes them crispy. But the healthful fat also soaks into the bread cubes and renders them semi-waterproof, or dressing-proof. The same goes for the dusting of Parmesan cheese applied halfway through the crisping process.


Prep Time: 10 mins     Cook Time: 10 mins    Additional Time: 35 mins        Total Time: 55 mins



2 cups stale bread cubes (about ½ inch square), or more to taste

¼ cup olive oil, or to taste

¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, or more to taste

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste

½ tsp. minced garlic, or to taste

1 pinch white sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced, or more to taste



Working in batches if necessary, place bread into a large skillet and drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil. Cook and stir bread over medium heat, adding more oil as needed, until golden and crispy on the outside, 7 to 12 minutes.


Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano over bread cubes; cook and stir until cheese is melted and bread is crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside, 3 to 4 minutes more. Let cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes.


Mix tomatoes, vinegar, 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until flavors combine, about 20 minutes.


Toss basil into tomato mixture, then stir in bread cubes. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 minutes; if the liquid is completely absorbed, add more vinegar and olive oil to taste. Season with salt and black pepper.


This caprese salad with peaches, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella is topped with a simple balsamic vinaigrette for a fantastic summer appetizer.

Prep Time: 15 mins                         Total Time: 15 mins


2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. flaked salt, divided

2 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced

2 ripe peaches - halved, pitted, and sliced into half moons

1 (8 ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

6 leaves fresh basil


Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 1 pinch flaked salt in a small bowl until dressing is smooth.

Alternate tomato slices, peach slices, mozzarella slices, and basil leaves in layers on a serving platter. Drizzle dressing over salad and sprinkle remaining flaked salt on top.

THE JENNIFER SALAD (Friends Reference)


1 cup of bulgur

2 diced cucumbers

1 (15oz.) Can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup of red onion, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

½ cup of crumbled feta cheese

½ cup of shelled pistachios



1- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of bulgar and reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the bulgar cook for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Be sure to stir every 5 minutes. Let the bulgar cool for at least 20 minutes until it’s room temperature.

2- In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, garbanzo beans, pistachios, red onion, parsley, mint, feta cheese and bulgur. Stir to combine.

3- Serve or put into an airtight container to save in the refrigerator

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite, family, football - how much more can you ask for?

Here at our house, roast Turkey is a must but in addition to the bird there must be some tasty sides.  Here’s what we usually have:



1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Butter

Mrs. Dash - to taste

½ Yellow Onion, or Vidalia if available

6 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely diced (can sub. garlic powder)

¼ cup white wine

2 14.5 oz. French style green beans, drained

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

1 container French Fried Onions



1- Preheat oven to 350.  In a large saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms until soft, drop heat if needed as you don’t want to brown the ingredients, just sweat down until sweet.  Add Mrs. Dash and wine and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated.

2- Add green beans, half of the French-fried onions and soup, stir until well combined and cook over medium heat until bubbling, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

3- Empty contents into a dish for baking and serving.  Put in the oven and bake, covered for 25 minutes until hot all the way through.  Uncover and top with the remaining French-fried onions and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until onions on top are browned.

Remove from the oven and enjoy!!!


Servings:  8

Cooking Time: ~45 min.

Total Time: ~60 min.



3 lbs. whole sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork

½ tsp. freshly ground pepper, to taste

½ cup buttermilk or Mexican Crema

½ cup Half & Half

6 Tbsp. butter cut into pieces



1- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat to 425 degrees. Place potatoes on a foil-lined pan; bake 45 to 60 minutes, until tender. Peel when cool enough to handle.

2- Puree with pepper in a food processor. With motor running, gradually add liquids through feeder tube, then butter. Process until silky. (Can make up to 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container.) Reheat and serve.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Addition to the Christmas Dinner Tradition

 Thanks to a special request, we've added another veggie to the Christmas Dinner Tradition.  While the Creamed Spinach from The House of Prime Rib is always delicious, Brussel Sprouts seem like a very appropriate addition and adds just the right amount of crispy and tasty - and who can object to the recipe from Ruth's Chris, even if you aren't normally a fan of these tasty orbs?


Ruth Chris Steak House Copycat Recipe

Serves 2-3

1 lb. fresh Brussels Sprouts (not frozen)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3-4 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. salt, plus more as needed
ground black pepper for seasoning

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Trim the bottom end of Brussels sprouts, and pull off the outer dark leaves. Halve through the core. Add Brussels sprouts to boiling water and cook, uncovered, until tender - about 7 minutes. While Brussels sprouts are boiling, add the oil and bacon to a large skillet (I prefer cast iron), and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the bacon is crispy. When Brussels sprouts are tender, drain and rinse under cold running water. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Increase heat to medium high. Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. After five minutes, sprouts will start to brown a little. Add apple cider vinegar and stir. Cook an additional 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, add maple syrup. Continue stirring until edges of sprouts are brown and crispy (about 2-3 additional minutes.) Add bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  If you have to cover, reheat so everything crisps up.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Baked Ziti, Penne, Rotini...Whatever

Fall hit Utah pretty hard this weekend, OK just Sunday, but it was nice to have a high in the 60's and a low in the low 40's.  Consequently, we were jonesing for something baked, something comforting so what works better than a pasta bake?!

I didn't have any Ziti in the pantry but did have a variety of other pastas so I improvised and did half Penne and half veggie Rotini - turned out pretty damn good...


Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 55 minutes   Yield: Serves at least 8



1 lb. ziti (can sub penne or rotini) pasta

Extra virgin olive oil

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage or ground beef or pork

1 large onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, shredded on a microplane

8 oz. container mushrooms, sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin

1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (or basil), minced, plus more for seasoning on top of fresh tomato layer

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning, plus more for seasoning layers

1 tsp. garlic powder, plus more for seasoning layers

1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces) or make your own tomato sauce

12 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated or shredded

1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese

1 ½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese



1. Boil the pasta: Heat a large pot of water (2 quarts of water) to a strong boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.

2. Brown the meat: While the water is heating in the previous step, start on the sauce. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the bulk sausage or ground meat. Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks. Brown well.

Don't stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown. If you are using ground beef or pork instead of sausage, sprinkle with a little salt, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash and Italian Herb Seasoning.

3. Add onions and sauté, then add garlic, spices, then tomato sauce: When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. Layer sauce, cheese, pasta, tomatoes in casserole dish: Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle a spoonful of sauce into the pasta, stir it well and then add half of the pasta into the casserole, top with half of the mozzarella, parmesan and all of the Roma slices, then add the rest of the pasta.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, and sprinkle on top both the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Italian Herbs.

6. Bake 20 min: Bake in oven at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and the cheese melted, about 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a nice simple salad and your best garlic bread!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

We're starting a pretty intense, full person program later this week so we wanted to get some yummy, non-Whole30 meals out of the way...Jules suggested a creamy lemon chicken pasta (we have a bunch of Meyer Lemons we need to use).  The following is what I found, and after my doctoring, came up with.  Truth be told it was pretty spectacular!  The jury is still out on adding the Ricotta - it may have made the sauce a little grainy and runny, next time we'll try it without (in 70 days).


Prep Time:  5 mins                        Cook Time:  20 mins                     Serves: 6
Rich creamy lemon basil sauce with sautéed or grilled chicken tossed with pasta. 

1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Onion (finely diced)
1 lb. Chicken Breast (about 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed); can be pre-grilled and cubed
2 tsp. Mrs. Dash
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 tsp. dried thyme or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 Garlic Cloves (finely minced or grated on a microplane)
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 ½ cups Heavy Cream or Half-n-Half
½ cup Ricotta (optional)
Lemon Zest (from one lemon)
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. tapioca starch
½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Basil (cut into ribbons or torn)
1 lb. Pasta

1- Start by boiling water in a large pot.  Add a generous amount of salt to the pot of water. This will help to season the pasta.  Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
2- While water is heating up, in a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add chicken breast. Sauté for 7-8 minutes (if adding grilled chicken, add during Step 4 before adding salt to taste). Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Garlic can easily burn so watch it carefully. Season with Mrs. Dash and red pepper flakes (optional).
3- Add chicken broth and heavy cream or half-n-half. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. If you want more lemon flavor, add more lemon zest. Simmer for 3-4 min.
4- In a separate small bowl add tapioca starch to ½ cup of sauce and whisk until smooth.  Add back in to the pan of sauce and stir until incorporated.  Simmer for 3-4 min. more to cook roux. Taste sauce and add more salt, if necessary. 
5- Toss cooked pasta with sauce. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil ribbons.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Red Chicken - A Family Favorite...

My mom used to make this, and the kids fell in love with it, especially Emily.  Quick (prep, still has to cook for 90+ minutes) and easy.  Serve with your veggie of choice...


Serves 4 (plus a little left over)

3 lbs. Chicken 4 legs/4 thighs, bone in but skinless
Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash or Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tbsp. Italian Herb Seasoning
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 14oz. cans diced tomatoes, regular or Italian style
1 pkt. Lipton Onion
Soup Mix*
¼ c. Red Wine (can use white wine, beer or all stock)
½ c. Chicken stock
Splash Balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine Tomatoes, Soup mix, Wine, Stock and balsamic in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven (Le Creuset)
Sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces with garlic powder, Mrs. Dash and Italian Herb Seasoning.  Brown chicken pieces, in batches if necessary, ~4 min. per side
Add garlic, S&P and bay leaves to oil and stir until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (don’t overcook, garlic gets bitter)
Situate all chicken pieces in the Dutch oven with as many pieces as possible touching the bottom of the pot.
Pour tomato mixture over chicken and lift the pieces so it settles in between, under and covers the chicken.
Cover and put Dutch oven in the oven on 350°F for 2-3 hours (convection if available), checking about ½ way through to make sure nothing is burning and stirring to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
When done, chicken should fall off of the bone.  Remove the bones and cartilage, but leave the chicken in larger pieces for ease of serving and presentation.
Serve over steamed rice.

*If you don’t have a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Gently sauté ½ finely diced onion with Mrs. Dash, garlic powder and a little soy sauce then add to the food processor

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Essential Drink for the Holidays...Hell, any celebration!

 Recipe can be cut in half very easily…

2 large cans (46oz.) Tomato Juice (just the basic Campbell’s Tomato Juice)
1 Ten oz. bottle Worcestershire Sauce
1 Ten oz. bottle A-1
10 shakes Tabasco (to taste)
10 shakes Celery Salt
1 tsp. Horseradish (to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
Juice of ¼ fresh lemon and lime (to taste)

In a one gallon container, shake/stir all ingredients listed above until well mixed.  Serve over ice with your choice of accompaniments:
- Pickled Asparagus
- Celery stalks
- Stuffed green olives- bleu cheese, pimentos, garlic, etc.
- Cooked Bacon
- Lemon wedge
- Lime wedge
- Whatever else sounds good…

This mix is very good with regular Vodka, but goes great with citrus or pepper Vodka as well.
You can also add other spirits for a good twist:
Gin – Gin Mary
Tequila – Tequila Maria
Jameson – Mary Bloody Mary (ode to U2)

V8 – Virgin Mary

I was telling a friend about this drink and realized it was not on here so HAD to include it!
Whether you drink or not, this is a staple at any brunch, weekend breakfast or celebration!