Category Archives: Veggie & Side Dishes

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!

Originally posted 2017-03-21 00:01:21.

Light Summer Corn Salad: Garden Fresh or Otherwise!

Corn is a perfect staple during the summer but once it gets too hot, no one wants to deal.  This recipes is fantastic and helps us cool down!

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!

I love that this is so yummy, and especially that it’s a col addition to a hot dinner!  The fresh flavors from the garden truly shine in this dish!

This recipe certainly cannot be any more simple and it’s perfect after a day or so of sitting in the fridge!  Even if you don’t have time or the inclination to make it ahead, it’s perfect when made as your making dinner as well!

Garden Fresh Corn Salad

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

I personally love having it cool with dinner!  It’s beyond delicious on a hot summer day!  It’s especially great for a BBQ or picnic, I’ll be honest and say I had a couple of servings as lunch one day!  haha

What is your favorite way to prepare fresh summer veggies?

Originally posted 2016-07-25 07:45:30.

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.

Ingredients:

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
salt
pepper
3 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Directions:

  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?

 

Originally posted 2016-07-18 07:31:36.

How to Make Delectable Croutons

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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?

Originally posted 2016-06-06 07:03:19.

Super Yummy German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad may not be the first thing that comes to mind when choosing something to have with traditional BBQ’s, but this one is definitely a great addition to your grilling rotation!

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.

If you’ve never tried German Potato Salad, I highly recommend trying it out.  I swear this recipe is delicious!  We also have a ‘regular’ potato salad that is our own creation and a Light Summer Garden Salad that uses all fresh veggies, you could of course use non-fresh veggies too.

If you are looking for a healthy summer treat, try out these Mock Welch’s Strawberry Popsicles.  They taste slightly better than I remember Welch’s tasting as a child.  Definitely a treat to cool ya down on those hot days!

German Potato Salad

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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?

 

Originally posted 2016-05-23 06:33:10.

Fusilli with Mushroom & Butternut Squash

Fusilli2

I can’t honestly say where I found this recipe, but I wanted to share it with you.  Whether you are gluten free (the Fusilli can be found GF), vegan, or just have the occasional meatless meal, this is pretty good.  We don’t typically do any of those, so as we ate my husband said he needed a steak to go with it, which is funny because he doesn’t typically like steak.  So, it’s a great meatless meal or would go fabulous alongside a well cooked steak.  Hope you like it.

  • 1 pkg Fusilli pasta
  • olive oil
  • 2 c butternut squash, chopped same size
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 pkg cherub tomatoes, halved
  • Green Onions, chopped for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Toss squash in bowl with 2 tbsp oil and a dash of salt and pepper.
  3. In roasting pan, spread squash in a single layer and roast for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir, roast another 12 minutes.
  4. Fill large pot with salted water and bring to boil over high heat.  When the water begins to boil, add fusilli and cook to package directions.
  5. Heat a large skillet, add oil when the pan is hot.  Over medium heat, saute onions.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes, saute a little longer.
  6. Add fusilli and squash, stir well for one minute.
  7. If desired, garnish with green onions.

If you have any modifications that work out, we’d love to hear them!

 

Originally posted 2016-02-15 06:15:15.

Don’t Miss This: The Perfect Summer Potato Salad!

Potato Salad is a favorite in my house and family.  And with grilling season at hand, it’s the perfect time for it!

Potato Salad: The Perfect Summer Recipe

We’ve come to many friendly family debates as to which type of potato salad is the best.  My sister (and her German heritage) swears that German Potato Salad is best.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love it but I’m not sure that it’s my favorite.

My husband creates his own, which is amazing.  I would like to tell you about it, or share with you, but he refuses to share or measure out his recipes.  It’s a point of contention.

I like a few different Potato Salad recipes, and I’m sharing with you my favorite, which is a combination of a few different recipes with my own spin.  As for my family, they can share on their own websites.  Bahaha.

If you are looking for another recipe that is perfect for fresh summer veggies, check out this Light Summer Corn Salad and this awesome Mock Sonic Strawberry Limeade!

 

 

Regardless how you like your potato salad, I think we can all agree on at least two things:

  1. Potato Salad is the perfect summer accompaniment to just about anything.
  2. Potato salad is always better on the second day when the flavors have set into each and every bite!

Of course, sharing this recipe makes me want to make it again.  I just fixed it last week but….

Perfect Summer Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs New Potatoes (the small ones with multiple colors)
  • 6 Slices Cooked Bacon, crumbled
  • 6 Eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/2 c chopped red onion
  • 1/3 c  chopped celery
  • 3 Tbsp Zuchinni Relish
  • 1 c mayo
  • 1/4 c mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes until soft, rinse with cold water and let cool, then quarter them and place in large bowl.
  2. Crumble hard boiled eggs (or chop them) and add to potatoes along with bacon, onion, celery, and relish.
  3.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, mustard and parsley.  Mix.
  5. Add sauce to potato mixture, stir well.
  6. Adjust sauce to taste and add whatever you feel is missing or adjust if you feel one flavor is dominating too much.  😀  I pour in juice from the zucchini relish for extra moisture!

Perfect Summer Potato Salad

I’d love to hear your additions/changes and what kind of potato salad is your favorite?

Twice-Baked Potatoes A Recipe by Mike Hartner

The benefit to making twice-baked potatoes is that you also get mashed potatoes from the recipe and potato skins, depending on your taste.

My son and I like the skins, and everyone likes the twice-baked potatoes. 

The recipe is fairly easy.

Potatoes (I use about 12 – 15 at a time).  But I’m feeding five, so judge your numbers and interest.  Each potato makes two twice-baked potato.

potato11. Bake the potatoes. (1 hr +/- 375)

potato32. Scoop out the potato, being careful not to destroy the skin. (A small amount of potato on the side does not hurt) And place into a mixing bowl.

3. Add about 1/3 cup butter and let it melt into the hot potato flesh in your mixing bowl.

4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I add paprika, and cayenne… experiment.

potato45. Don’t use MILK… use CREAM.  It’s much heavier, and tastes better.  Pour a little at a time into your potatoes until you’ve reached a thickness you like. 

6. Taste, and then add more slat and pepper according to your palate.

7. Fill potato skins 3/4 with mashed potatoes from the mixing bowl.

potato58. Add crumbled bacon, and green onions.potato 6

9. Add shredded cheddar or other cheese.

10. Put back in oven until cheese melts.

11. Serve warm.

About the AuthorMike Hartner

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

book.cover

I, Walter is the first in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America. 

Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books.  

It’s almost like looking at a menorah (sic). Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points. 

Walter Crofter was born into Elizabethan England.

In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?

Especially given his family background?

KateTiltonsBookBloggers

 

 

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts or comments about the recipe or the book series!!!

Leave a comment and share!

 

Originally posted 2014-03-08 06:46:47.

Coriander Carrots: Sweet, Healthy & Delicious!

Carrots were not always my friend, as a child I was convinced they were evil. Haha.  It is so great that nowadays kids aren’t as intimidated by healthier foods!  These Coriander Carrots are everything a carrot should be: healthy, sweet, and delicious!  While they’ll go with any or even no diet, I love that they are paleo friendly.  They bring a sweet flavor without anything that could be considered unhealthy !  IMO that is a perfect combination!

Sweet & Healthy Coriander Carrots

I’ve doubled the recipe, as my tendency is to want to have them to snack on the next day.  They only increase in their yumminess overnight!  Of course, I always wish I’d doubled my double. haha.  Can you tell I’m crazy about Coriander Carrots?  Of course, I’m also crazy about any recipe that is super easy and not too in depth!

Coriander Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds *see note below*
  • 2 lbs baby carrots, sliced into 4 strips or chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tbsp bacon grease (or butter)

Directions:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add coriander and cook 30 seconds or until toasted.
  3. Add carrots, water and grease (or butter).
  4. Coriander CarrotsCover pan and cook covered, untouched, for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and cook an additional 3 minutes (or until liquid is gone), stirring when necessary.

 

While these go great with almost any meal, I love pairing them with my Herb Roasted Chicken or this amazing Spiced Tenderloin.

Please come back and let me know what you paired them with or any changes that worked for you!

***Note, I’ve found that the easiest way to grind the coriander seeds is to utilize an old pepper corn grinder.  Bonus: the container won’t waste away in a  landfill!  (Shout out to the amazing marketing people of the 90’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!)

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!!!

Ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Jar
Onions (we used red)

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

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