Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category


I went to the Farmers Market this week and found they had baskets of tomatoes for $1!

I bought three and went home excited about making tomato jam.

I had never tasted tomato jam until just last year, and I thought it was so delicious, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, or that it wasn’t everywhere, in every super market, next to strawberry jam or blueberry jelly!  I felt deprived…

So when I saw those tomatoes, I immediately thought, “I could make some jam!  I mean, how hard could it be?



Five hours later, after peeling five pounds of tomatoes, simmering & stirring the pot, checking the consistency countless times, I wondered if this “soup” was ever going to turn into “jam”.

I decided to go sit down, after all, I’d been standing in the kitchen for hours (I already had met my 10,000 steps quota and it was only 5pm!).  While I was checking my emails and Instagram, I fell asleep…

Next thing I know I smelled a hint of something burning… I jumped out of the chair and ran to the kitchen, exclaiming, “no, no, no…!”

I stirred the pot and realized the bottom was starting to stick, but it wasn’t burned!  I tasted it quickly, hoping there was no burnt taste…

Oh, I have to tell you, I breathed a sigh and was so thankful that it tasted fine!  It was still really, REALLY hot from those red chile flakes, but it was delicious.

I grabbed the jars and filled three of them with about four tablespoons left over.  That’s it!  Three pints from FIVE pounds of tomatoes!  I had to laugh…


I was so proud of myself.

For years, (since I first got married and went to college in a rural area), I’d wanted to try canning and I finally did it.

It only took a couple decades.

Now, the jars sit it on my kitchen shelves and I can’t wait until next week when I can go to the Farmers Market, buy whatever is in season, and try canning again!

I can almost see it…my kitchen shelves stocked with colorful jars, filled with all kinds of good food.

Of course, what will really happen is that I’ll end up giving these jars away in pretty gift baskets…

…But I love to do that, too!

So it’s a win/win situation 😊

Enjoy summer bounty,


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My doctor gave me a list of foods I need to eat frequently…

Oatmeal was on that list.

Apparently it lowers your cholesterol.

But the oatmeal I was used to eating, was the one that I made
and it included lots of dried fruit, a few (maybe 2 or 3) almonds,
whole milk, brown sugar (or honey), and cinnamon.

I don’t think that’s the kind the doctor meant.


I had to come up with a healthier recipe for me to eat
since I have want to have it at least 3 times a week.

Here are a few options I came up with:



I love this one!  It’s an apple topping I thought of one day
probably because I love apple pie and I can’t have that right now.

Apples are also on that doctor’s list, btw.



Apples are on sale again and they look and smell wonderful!!
I just bought 5 lbs today so I can make some apple sauce.
(and oatmeal, too, of course!)



I choose a nice, firm apple . . .








I know all these pictures aren’t really necessary…

It’s like I can’t help myself.

I just love the colors, the apples, …
Thought it would make a great photo…
(I’m always looking at the world as through the lens of a camera —
that’s my only excuse).

Please bear with me.



After I peel, core, and chop the apples,
I add a little brown sugar…



And some cinnamon.



I stir it and cook it in a small skillet or sauce pan (doesn’t really matter)
for about 5 minutes, just until the flavors blend and the apples soften a bit.



The whole house smells wonderful when this is cooking!



While the apples are cooking, I make the oatmeal in the microwave.

I use 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1 cup of milk, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon,
and 1 tsp of brown sugar (or honey).  If you like it sweeter, add a little more



When the oatmeal is done, and the apples have cooked enough,
I put the oatmeal in a pretty bowl, then spread the apples on top.



If it’s too dry, I add a splash more of milk.


My husband prefers slicing a banana over the oatmeal
and sprinkling just a tiny bit of cinnamon over the top.



He also loves some almonds, a few raisins, granola, …
whatever he can find in the pantry that he thinks will go well with it.

I don’t add nuts to my oatmeal because they are a headache trigger,
so it’s just better if I stay away from them.



I’m always looking for new toppings for the oatmeal,
and I’m really enjoying the nice, warm breakfast it provides.

It’s delicious and very comforting.

Now, not many things are both delicious AND “ordered suggested by your physician.”

This is one thing I can eat and feel great about.

Let me know if you have any other ideas,







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Homemade Pizza

I was craving pizza last night,

but I’ve been away and haven’t had time for grocery shopping,

so I just used what I had in my fridge & pantry…



The result was an interesting (but tasty) combination
of some random items I normally would never consider putting on pizza.


I started out by making the dough for the crust.

I actually love this part.


Peeking inside the bowl…

I love the smell of dough, and when I let it rise
and come back, it’s amazing how it’s doubled it size!


I cover the bowl with a light-weight towel and forget about it for about an hour.


It’s pretty cool how it grows and becomes so soft.

I love this part, too… Now I get to play with the dough
and form the pizza crust.

It reminds me of playing with Play Dough! 🙂

When the dough has risen, I put a little bit of flour on the counter
and I either roll it out to the size I want, or I just plop it onto the greased
pizza pan (or cookie sheet, in this case).



I like this part, too!  I use my fingers to softly spread the dough
over the cookie sheet.

Someday I’ll buy a pizza pan!
These are the simple ingredients I used on the curst.


First, I sprinkle garlic powder over the crust,
then I spread olive oil on that.


Then I pour some of the sauce…
Sometimes I make my own sauce, but this time I just decided to make things easy.



I use this cheese for sandwiches…

I’ve never used this one on  pizza before, but it works well
if you like some heat.

I think it would’ve worked out fine…
…but I also put some hot chiles (in lieu of red/green peppers)…
In my defense, …I was tired, hungry, sleepy, exhausted,…
I wasn’t thinking.
…let’s just say the pizza was HOT!
But delicious.



These are the toppings I came up with in my limited pantry:

Corn (I know! I know! It’s not traditionally a pizza topping, but…
I was desperate,…what can I say?)
Black beans (same excuse as with the corn)
Chiles (I didn’t have any red or green peppers so I thought this was the next best thing)
Black olives
Meatballs (Leftover from last night’s dinner) Cut into quarters.



After the cheese, I put the meatballs…


IMG_1176Then the corn…

Black beans,…



Black olives, and green chiles…


I’m SO glad I had this cheese!!

I sprinkled it all over the pizza.



It actually looked pretty good.

I baked it for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees.


I was surprised at the flavor.

I didn’t expect it to be so spicy
—-(I’d forgotten about the cheese slices underneath everything)

I didn’t expect to like the mixture of the toppings as much as I did.
—-(maybe the fact that I was so hungry had something to do with it?)



 The crust was crispy on the outside and soft on the center.

It was tasty and just what I was craving.

Not as good as the Pizzeria, but a little healthier.  🙂



It’s really not difficult to make pizza
and it’s fun!

Hope you’ll give it a try!



1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 Tb sugar

I warm the water in the microwave;
warm enough but not hot.
Then I add a tablespoon of sugar to the water,
add the yeast, and use a whisk to mix it well.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until bubbly.

While the yeast is working, I mix the dry ingredients:
3 cups bread flour
1 Tb sugar
2 Tb olive oil

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, until a dough begins to form.
Transfer to floured surface and knead until soft and smooth.
Place in greased (with olive oil) bowl, and let rise for one hour.
Remove from bowl and either roll dough or use fingers to desired
shape in pizza pan or cookie sheet.

Top crust with your favorite toppings and sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, in preheated oven.

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Lemonade Slushy

Its been SO hot lately…

We needed something COOL to drink!



Lemons were on sale!



Don’t you just love the beautiful color of lemons??



They just say SUMMER to me.




Lemons, water, sugar, and ice.

That’s all you need for this refreshing lemonade slushy.




I used 3 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup ice
1-2 cup(s) of cold water

Put in blender
then pour into chilled glasses.




It is so good!!




You can add more lemons/sugar/water according to your taste.






So refreshing!
So easy!
So quick!





My family loves when I make this.

It lasts about 1 minute.





One good thing about summer,


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A Visit

It was so good to visit my Dad recently.

I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like.



Visits to see Dad usually include a walk in the backyard.
It was the end of the mango season for his trees…



He counted seven on this tree…




They would be the last ones of the summer…




I did get to eat one or two that he’d pick earlier.  They were delicious!!
They smell so good!
I wasn’t the only one enjoying these delicacies…



There he is in his workshop, enjoying the fruits of his labor,
taking a break from work.  That’s his lovely wife.
They’ve been married for over 15 years (my Mom passed away many years ago).



I did get to bring one or two of these home with me.  🙂


Later that night he decided to cook some ribs on the grill.



I made a rub for them, and he put them on the bbq.




He kept a close eye on them until they were done.




We had a great time that night.
My brother & his wife & kids came over and we laughed a lot
as we always do when we get together.


It was a short visit but oh, so sweet.

Enjoy your summer.  🙂



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Sofrito Meatloaf

There are so many recipes for meatloaf out there!

I don’t think I’ve made it the same way twice…
It usually depends what I have on hand.

It’s never turned out tasteless, but I have to admit
sometimes it’s been better than others.

Here’s one way I like to make it…


I start  by making sofrito, and giving it a quick cook with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
Sofrito is a mixture of green pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, olive oil, and vinegar.
For more on sofrito, click here.


Cook the sofrito in the pan for about 5 minutes and set it aside.


I add the sofrito to the meat mixture.
Sometimes I just use ground turkey,
Other times I use ground beef & turkey sausage — that’s my favorite mixture

To the mixture, I also add:
one egg
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tb mustard
2 Tb sour cream or yogurt
2 Tb worcestershire sauce
NOTE:  I mix these in a separate bowl before I add it to the meat mixture.




Then, I spread it in a cake pan.
A cake pan??
I love the topping most of all– So, instead of using a loaf pan
and just getting a little area of topping,
I spread it out in a cake pan and get a lot of it!  🙂



The topping:  I mix brown sugar, mustard and ketchup in a small bowl.
You can mix it to your taste…
If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar,
if you want it with more of a tangy flavor, add more mustard.

Then, I spread it all over the top of the meatloaf and bake it for one hour at 350.




It’s a classic family meal.




My favorite sides with the meatloaf is, of course, mashed potatoes.
Corn is also good on any day, but especially when it’s fresh.

Are you hungry yet?

Have fun in the kitchen!
I’m linking up today on Tasty Tuesday at Creatively Homespun.


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Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers are perfect for a summer lunch!

This whole meal is an easy, tasty variety of healthy foods…
Turkey burgers, roasted sweet peppers, and sweet potato oven fries.

This is my husband’s plate
(He didn’t have any bread/buns with it).
You can tell he likes mustard with it.

I buy a bag of these small sweet peppers for $2 and they add so much flavor
to so many dishes.  I use them to season black beans, different soups,
and even salads.


I drizzled some olive oil and some balsamic vinegar over the peppers,
then sprinkled Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt over them.
I’ve been using this salt since I was in college when
a sweet lady from church was teaching me how to make potato salad
and she told me, “I never make it without Jane’s salt!”

I buy it at the local Supermarket for $1.79.


I roasted the peppers at 425 in the oven for about 20 min.
I flipped them over once, half-way through cooking.


I also made some sweet potato oven fries to go with the burgers.




This is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to eat sweet potato.
All I do is peel and slice the sweet potatoes,
then I season them with brown sugar, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar,
and I sprinkle just a tiny bit of salt over them.

They’re done in about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven.
For crispier fries, leave them in a few minutes longer.





They come out crispy, sweet, delicious!

My favorites are the ones that look a little burnt – the brown sugar caramelizes on them
and they are crunchy goodness!





While the peppers and the “fries” cooked in the oven, I made the burgers on the skillet.




This is how I seasoned the burgers:

In a small bowl, I mixed together:
1 egg
2 Tb sour cream
3-4 dashes of hot sauce
1 1/2 tsp of: garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp Jane’s salt
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

I added the mixture to 1 lb of ground turkey.
I shaped 4 patties out of the mixture, and placed on a hot skillet
with 2 tb olive oil, 1 Tb butter, and one half of a large onion, sliced.

I cooked the burgers for 7-10 minutes on med-high heat,
flipped each one and cooked for another 7-10 minutes.
Then I covered the skillet, lowered the heat to the lowest setting
and cooked for another 5-7 minutes.

I turned off the heat and removed the pan from the hot burner,
leaving the burgers covered for an extra 5 minutes.


I toasted the bread for my burger

Then I added the peppers right on top of the patty.


It was a healthy and  delicious meal!




Trying to eat healthier,


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Chicken Fresco

I’ve been trying to cook new dishes and
break out of the same-old-same-old recipes
I’ve done for decades.




Did you notice the chicken is shaped like a heart?!
I just noticed that!  🙂


So, here’s one I tried yesterday
and I loved it!!



Very simple and easy.

And delicious!!

I’m calling it Chicken Fresco because it tasted
so fresh and light.

Serves 2.  (It can easily be adapted to feed more
by just adding more chicken and tomatoes)


Chicken Fresco

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, split (butterflied)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes  halved
3 Tb  olive oil
2  cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.
I used a cast iron skillet.  I thought this was worth mentioning
because it gives the chicken such great color and texture.
Heat pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic,
cook for about 3 minutes.
Then add chicken breasts to the pan.
I browned the chicken on each side for a total of about 5-7 minutes.
Then, I placed the chicken on a cookie sheet and covered them
with aluminum foil, and put in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
While the chicken cooked in the oven, I put the tomatoes and parsley
into the skillet and cooked them for about 3 minutes.
Then removed it from heat.
Once the chicken was cooked, I took it out of the oven,
Uncovered it and placed it back into the skillet.
I placed it back on the heat for about one minute,
just enough for the chicken to get covered in the “sofrito”.
I served it with white rice and slices of avocado.

It was a quick, healthy, and easy meal to make.



Happy cooking everyone!



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Fish Tacos

A good friend of mine said the other day
she doesn’t think fish is for tacos.

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She hasn’t had these fish tacos.


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I season the fish fillets (in this case, Tilapia)
with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder,
paprika, and lots of lemon.




Then I cook the fish
in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, then add a tablespoon
of butter for flavor.




While the fish are sizzling in the pan,
I make the pico de gallo.
It’s just tomato, cilantro, onion,
a jalapeno pepper, and lemon.
Season it with a little salt.




I flip the fish only once, and very gently…
I don’t want them to break.

When they’re cooked through,
I turn the heat off,
and I warm the tortillas either in the microwave
(wrapped in a moist paper towel)
OR I warm them on a skillet, one at a time.




I use two tortillas per taco
(my husband thought of this great idea!)
so that it won’t break and it adds more stability
to the taco.  …and by the way, I always use corn tortillas…
…they have so much flavor.

I put one delicious fillet in each taco,
and add lots of pico de gallo,


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I’m joining the Creatively Homespun Tasty Tuesdays Link Party!  Click for some more delicious recipes from bloggers.



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Pork Chops

Since I haven’t felt like cooking much,
(I’ve been sick…)

but not wanting to eat something from a can,
I decided to try a simple recipe I saw last week
on Food Network by Trisha Yearwood.

Here’s the link to that page:

I made a few changes and loved how it turned out!

It’s an easy recipe with simple ingredients
(which is why I wanted to try it).

I added a few ingredients to the recipe
and changed a few of the measurements.

The most important thing to remember is:
THICK-CUT pork chops.  Thin-cut would dry out.

I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the butter
when I was “sauteing” the rice in the pan.
That insured that I wouldn’t burn the butter
and I like the flavor the olive oil gives to the rice.



Instead of one cup of rice, I used 1 1/2 cups.

I also added green onions for flavor.
I sprinkled them over the rice just before adding the beef broth.


Instead of using a can, I used the carton of beef broth.
I think it tastes a lot better.

I also increased the broth to 3 cups
because of the change in the amount of rice.


I seasoned the pork chops with a sprinkle of garlic powder,
onion powder, salt & pepper.
I placed some onion slices on top
and covered the entire dish with aluminum foil.

My oven isn’t working properly, so after 45 minutes at 350,
I increased the temperature to 375 and left it in for another 15 min.

It was perfect.  The rice was not dry and not too wet.
The pork chops were cooked but not tough.


I wanted a nice sear on the pork chops so I placed them
in a hot cast iron skillet for just a few minutes.

It was the final touch they needed.
They lost the “white, roasted” look
and now looked crispy and delicious.


I steamed some broccoli to round out the meal.

I also added some fresh lemon wedges to sqeeze right over
the pork chops.  It was amazing the difference!  It brought out all the flavors.


My husband thought it was delicious.

I can’t wait to try this recipe using chicken.  I think it’ll be great.

It was wonderful to have a home-cooked meal
with minimal effort.
Since I haven’t been feeling well, an easy recipe was the way to go.

I will be adding this recipe in my new “tried-and-true” file.
It’s nice to have something new to make for friends & family.  🙂

Happy cooking,


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