Category Archives: Veggie & Side Dishes

Pickled Onions

I don’t know about you, but I’d never had pickled onions before.  But, Chief Zoo Keeper suggested we have pickled onions on some sandwiches and I jumped on it.  Why not!?!  Something a little different.  Well, they are really great!  The flavors worked great on our sandwiches.  We also had some on chili dogs.  Yum!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Onions (we used red)

Slice onions into rounds.
Stuff into jar.
Fill with apple cider vinegar.
Let sit.  The longer, the better!  At least 4 hours, overnight is preferred.

Originally posted 2012-06-30 05:00:00.

Country Pasta Toss

Hey guys!  I just tried this recipe out and it is fabulous, so I thought I’d share!
Country Pasta Toss
3 c rotini pasta
1 lb new potatoes, cut into wedges
1 lb baby carrots
2 c broccoli flowerets
(peas or snow peas if desired)
olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp parsley (dried or fresh)
2 tsp dill week
1/2 tsp salt
4-8 oz chopped ham
1.  Boil pasta
2.  Steam potatoes and baby carrots for 5 minutes.
3.  Add in broccoli, steam for 2 more minutes.  (this is where you add peas)
4.  Drain pasta.  Pour in olive oil, mix.  Add veggies and seasoning, stir.
5.  Serve and enjoy!  Very little guilt, this is super healthy!

Originally posted 2012-05-27 22:28:00.

Smoked Paleo Deviled Eggs

Smoked Paleo Deviled Eggs!  I’m so excited!  Going paleo hasn’t been easy for me.  I’m a bit of a foodie and it’s almost like torture (probably because I’m a spoiled brat, but I SO did not ask for judgement lol).  One good and fun thing has been coming up with ways to make my favorite recipes become paleo!  Although some of them have been impossible, like cheese and milk anything haha, some have been do able.  Deviled eggs are now on the success list!  I’m so thankful I don’t have to give them up!  Sometimes I think if I could go back in time, I’d help ancient man find more stuff so when I came back to present day, my diet would include more.  haha.

There are two versions, the original, then the Paleo version at the bottom.  Be sure and get the correct version!

Paleo Deviled EggsIngredients

12 hard boiled eggs

1/3 c low-calorie mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp Spanish smoked paprika


  1. Set up smoker. or set up outdoor grill with foil packets
  2. place eggs in smoker until bronzed, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Cut thin slice off bottom of each half. Pop out yolks and placed in bowl with egg-white trimmings; mash with fork.
  4. Add mayonnaise, mustard, sriracha, and Worcestershire to yolk mixture; mash well. Spoon mixture back into egg-white halves. Sprinkle chives and paprika over eggs. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Paleo?  No problem!  Paleo Version

Instead of mayo, use half an avocado and add 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar.  Mix well.  Add a little more vinegar at a time until you reach the desired flavor.  While it isn’t the exact same, it’s fabulous and you get to have deviled eggs!  I missed them when we started paleo!

Know any good tricks for making non-Paleo recipes become Paleo?

Crunchy Green Beans

Ahh, summertime!!! Gotta love all of the fresh veggies available!!! I used 1 jar of canned green beans because that’s what we had! Turned out really great even though we didn’t have the almonds!

BTW, I’m super sorry I didn’t get a pic, we were starving and dug in without thinking!!!  LOL.  

4 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 1/3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup slivered almonds (opt.)


Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute celery and mushrooms in oil until tender. Combine cornstarch, cold water and soy sauce until smooth; stir into celery mixture. Stir in bouillon. bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Drain beans and add to the celery mixture. Stir in almonds.

Originally posted 2011-08-05 14:16:00.

Garlic Roasted Summer Squash

<--  This is my Chief Zoo Keeper, amazed that I grew something!!!  

On that note, here we go! Typically I am the death of all things that grow out of the ground, but this year God has blessed me with the ability to not kill everything!  Actually, I don’t think that is true at all.  I think it is the fact that they are planted outside so God can take care of them when I don’t!  LOL.  Anyway, we managed to pull two lovely fat squash out of my little garden and I am so pleased!!!  I wanted to cook them, but wanted something different as we have a lot of saute’d squash, so I found this recipe here.  I had to modify it as I didn’t have the seasoning it called for but it turned out great!  SO, here is my modified version!!!


  • 2 summer squash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Trim the ends from the squash, and cut each squash in half lengthwise. Cut the halves in half again crosswise, to make 4 pieces; cut those pieces in half twice more the long way, to make 16 short spears from each squash.  (cut them like pickles, then cut the ‘pickle’ shape in half again!) Toss the squash with olive oil and garlic in a bowl; place into a shallow baking dish or on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast the squash until the spears and garlic start to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Check the squash after 5 minutes, and add time in 2- to 3-minute intervals to avoid burning.  Mine took about 15 minutes, I suggest turning them about half way through so they will brown a bit on both sides!!!

Originally posted 2011-08-01 02:47:00.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

I made this delicious dish to go with some Pita’s I was making. It was amazing, I ate the leftovers for days all by themselves and had to force myself not to make more.  I’m planning on making this many more times, especially this summer for BBQ’s!  I think it’s a wonderful addition to any picnic type menu!  It can be made days in advance and could easily be kept on ice and still remain great!

I will post the Pita recipe next week, trust me, you’ll want to come back for it!  They are an amazing pair AND you could make it in advance for a quick weeknight dinner!

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried basil, more to taste
  • 1 box (16 ounces) orzo pasta
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 can (2¼ ounces) sliced, ripe olives drained
  • 1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Cook orzo, rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together seasoning mix, sugar, vinegar and olive oil.  Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT basil.  Mix well.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  The longer it is refrigerated (a couple of days perhaps) the more the flavors will meld.  Just be sure and mix again before serving.
  5. Garnish with basil.

*Great for picnics and cookouts!

**Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time!

Light Summer Corn Salad

Looking for a fabulous salad with minimum calories? Check out this wonderful Garden Fresh Corn Salad!

Are you growing a garden this year?  Or maybe checking out the local Farmer’s Market?  I don’t think there is any flavor in the world like that which comes from garden fresh veggies.  Even if you don’t have them fresh though, this recipe is super yummy and great for picnics, brunches and pot lucks!  I’m definitely going to be making it for next year’s July 4th bash!


4 Ears of Corn, cooked with kernals removed

-or- 3 cups corn kernals

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/3 c of your favorite mayo

2 Tbsp lime juice

3 Tbsp finely chopped Basil leaves

-or- 6 Tbsp dried basil


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  You can serve immediately or make it a day or two in advance.  As is typical, the flavors meld wonderfully after it’s been sitting a while.  Just remember to keep it cool if you use an egg based mayo.

What is your favorite way to prepare fresh summer veggies?

Homemade Corn Nuggets (Dairy Free OR Not)

Homemade.cornOne of the worst things about having a dairy allergy is that everything one buys has dairy in it! Chief Zoo Keeper didn’t always have a dairy allergy so he very much knows the wonderful flavors of all things dairy.  One of the many things he misses is Corn Nuggets.  I spend a bit of time trying to get recipes to be dairy free and taste good.  So, below is the dairy version with notes to modify it to be dairy free.  The ones pictured used the modification that I’m putting by the asterisks.  Hope you love it and will come back and leave me your comments.


11 ozs cream style corn  **Leave out for dairy free version
11 ozs whole kernel corn, drained   **double, mix with dairy free cream cheese
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
3 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)


  1.  If making the dairy free version, start by mixing the corn and cream cheese.  If not, mix corn together.
  2. Drop in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, put in freezer for at least 4 hours.  Trust me, you want it as frozen as possible.
  3. In a medium bowl, befreezenuggets  at egg and add cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper.
  4. Pre-heat oil to 350 degrees
  5. A few at a time, take corn out of freezer and dip in flour mixture.  Immediately put in oil.  I suggest doing only a few at a time because they will start to thaw very quickly and when they thaw, they fall apart.
  6. Fry until golden brown.  Place on paper towels to let some of the oil drip off.
  7. Enjoy!

nuggetsboxHow’d you make yours?  Any improvement suggestions?


How to Make Delectable Croutons


Everyone knows the toppings on a salad can add so much.  These scrumptious little croutons are quick and easy, plus you can make them to hold any flavor you’d like.  I made mine with garlic flavor, but I am a garlic nut.  LOL.


4 slices wheat bread

2 Tbsp butter

Seasonings of Choice

Parsley & Garlic

Red Pepper Flakes & Black Pepper

Garlic Powder, onion powder, oregano, basil

Garlic Powder, onion powder, dill

Seasoning Salt

BBQ Seasoning


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Melt butter, set aside.
  3. Cut bread up to desired size.  Remember that if you cut all the bread in a stack at once, you’ll have to go back and tear it apart.  It’s still faster than cutting the bread one at a time.
  4. Stir in seasonings of choice. Adjust as you please to make your favorite flavors stand out.
  5. Spread onto baking sheet (no need to oil).  Bake for about ten minutes or until done. Keep an eye on it as different ovens will cook at different times.

What’s your favorite seasoning for croutons?

Super Yummy German Potato Salad


With grilling season and gatherings galore, potato salad seems like it is a staple.  I like to try some things that are differently from time to time so I was excited to try this.  I made mine with fresh potatoes from the Farmer’s Market.  I’m not going to lie, I was panicking when I saw the per-refrigerated bowl and the abundance of liquid, but by morning it had set up perfectly.


16 New Potatoes, cooked

6 boiled eggs,

1 med onion, minced

4-8 slices bacon, cooked crisply

1 pt mayo

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 c water

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp white sugar

1 tsp salt


  1. Boil potatoes, drain and put in bowl, prepare boiled eggs. Set aside.
  2. Mix together vinegar, water, brown sugar, white sugar and salt.  Pour over potato mixture. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add mayo.
  3. Mix together, adding all but a few chopped eggs (save some for the top) and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  I smashed the potatoes a bit, you can do yours as you prefer.  It will look very liquidy, just let it sit and don’t worry, it will turn out perfectly.


I’d love to hear your thoughts and modifications!

What is your go to side dish for BBQ’s and such?