Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw It's a Keeper

Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw

In my humble opinion, coleslaws are the quintessential summer salad.  They are perfect for cookouts and picnics.   Some are sweet and creamy while others can be tangy and bright.  One thing I adore about slaws is their versatility.   Gone are the days of the boring coleslaw.  Why go with boring when you can tinker around with different veggies and sauces?  Some of my favorites are  my Creamy Broccoli Slaw, Sriracha Coleslaw, California Citrus Slaw and this delightful Carrot Apple Ginger Slaw.

I love the flavor combination of this salad.  The apples and carrots are crisp and fresh.  While the ginger-infused sauce has a tart, slightly sweet flavor.  When all of these flavors and textures come together, you have a refreshing summer salad that is just bursting with flavor!  It goes perfectly with fish – providing some acidity to balance out the flavors.  Or, I love it on top of a good turkey burger!

Tomato and Asparagus Salad It's a Keeper

Fresh Tomato and Asparagus Salad

There is nothing like the taste of fresh asparagus to signify that spring is here.  As one of the first harvests of spring, there’s a small window of time when asparagus is at its finest. This tomato and asparagus salad, topped with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect way to welcome warmer weather.

This crisp, light salad showcases all that tender asparagus has to offer.  It’s almost like you can taste spring-time in every bite.   It’s truly a beautiful salad.  The red, juicy tomatoes contrasted with the bright green asparagus and ribbons of fresh basil.  The whole thing glistening from the vinaigrette.   It’s a sight, I tell you.

Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes It's a Keeper

Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes

Just what is a Hassleback Potato, you ask?  Fanned out like an accordion, these spuds were named after the Restaurant Hasselbacken in Stockholm, Sweden.  It was here that these delicious cheesy potatoes were created.

While these little gems may look intricate and difficult to make, they aren’t. They are just a few simple steps away from traditional, every day, run-of-the-mill baked potatoes.   All it takes is a few swipes of your knife (be sure to take note of the wooden spoon trick below) and some scrumptious toppings.  And viola!  Hassleback Cheesy Potatoes!

Easy Cheesy Orzo It's a Keeper

Easy Cheesy Orzo

One of my favorite go-to side dish recipes is this Parmesan Orzo.  I love it because it’s super simple to make and it tastes so good.   The last time I made this recipe, I had some left over Velveeta cheese in the fridge.  I swapped out the Parmesan for the Velveeta.

The result?  A creamy, cheesy, deeeelicious side dish!  The fam was crazy about it.  It reminded them of my homemade mac and cheese.

I think this would be perfect pair with my meatloaf or Crispy Oven Fried Chicken!

What’s your favorite go-to side dish?

 

Crispy Kale Chips 2 It's a Keeper

Kale Chips

If you are looking for a fun, healthy way to eat kale, then look no further!  These baked crispy kale chips are a light and tasty snack (or side dish).

Everyone has their cravings.  Some crave chocolate or sweets.  Others crave salty and crunchy.  Mine is ice cream.  If we have it in the house, it actually talks to me.  I hear it calling from the freezer.  And, no matter how hard I try to fight it, I find myself being led into the kitchen for “just a scoop”.  I even try to trick myself by putting the ice cream in a small drinking glass rather than a bowl. 

Oven Fries with Horseradish Cream It's a Keeper

Oven Fries with Horseradish Cream

I have a confession to make. I have never deep fried anything. Nothing. Ever. Frankly, I think the whole idea of a big pan of hot grease scares me.

Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean my family doesn’t love french fries or fried chicken. It just means that I have to come up with other ways to give them what they want. I’m a big fan of “oven-frying”. It’s not really frying. It’s more like trying to simulate the fried flavor and texture in the oven.

I think oven-frying is a great alternative and this recipe for Oven Fries is one of my favorites. They are the perfect side dish for Crunchy Onion Bourbon Burgers, Burgers with Caramelized Onions or any kind of sandwich. The Horseradish Cream makes a great dipping sauce, too.

Baked Pierogi Casserole

Baked Pierogi Casserole

This recipe is pure, unadulterated comfort food! I’m going to warn you right now…there is absolutely NOTHING healthy about this recipe. While it may not be very nutritious, it is one of those recipes that just makes you feel cozy. It’s warm and comforting and oh so good!

And, it reminds of my childhood! My mom used to make this recipe for us when we were kids. If I remember correctly (it’s been a while now!), my mother made this for one of my first sleep-over parties. We must have been pretty hungry girls because we polished off an entire pan of the stuff and asked her to make more! It is THAT good!

Homemade Mac & cheese it's a keeper

My Favorite Mac & Cheese

There is nothing more perfect (in my 5 year old’s opinion) than macaroni and cheese.  He would eat it with everything meal — including breakfast if I let him!  It goes with everything — chicken, beef, fish, pancakes (he actually tried to convince me of that once!).

While my son loves mac and cheese from a box, he loves my homemade version even more.  Making homemade mac & cheese is not as daunting of a task as you might think.  It’s really quite simple.   And, this recipe tastes sooo much better than the stuff from a box.  Trust me on this.  Years ago I found a recipe in the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook that seemed to work perfectly for me.  I’ve since adapted the recipe a bit to suit our tastes, and now it’s just right!

Wegman's Grilled Orzo Salad

Grilled Orzo Salad

A few years ago I went to a cooking class at my local Wegman’s supermarket.  It was a great class on grilling.  I learned a log of great tips and techniques.  One of the recipes they made that night was a Grilled Orzo Salad.  I must have liked the recipe, because I found it buried deep in my recipe stash. 

Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction

During the hot, sticky summer months, I’m always on the lookout for new salad ideas. Maybe it’s because I’m not in the mood for heavy dishes. Or, maybe it’s because my garden is always so plentiful during the dog-days of summer. Whatever the reason, my recipe pile is full of contenders — everything from slaws, pasta salads and mayo-based concoctions to plates full of leafy goodness.

Broccoli Coleslaw

Broccoli Coleslaw

My family loves broccoli slaw! This is one of those recipes that I’m always asked to make. And, I really don’t mind at all! I came up with this idea after visiting with some family. My cousin brought a broccoli slaw made at a local deli and it was fantastic! So, I took my regular coleslaw recipe and swapped out the cabbage for broccoli and….viola! Broccoli slaw!

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

A few weeks ago, I featured Crock Pot Chicken Parm by The Rickett Chronicles on my weekly recipe and craft linky — It’s a Keeper Thursday.  Nestled inside her recipe for Chicken Parmesan, was another recipe for Roasted Roma Tomatoes.  My test of her Slow Cooker Chicken Parm recipe turned out pretty good! And, since I was already planning on roasting some green beans for Parmesan Roasted Green Beans (are you noticing a theme here?!?), I thought why not give the tomatoes a try too! 

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Balsamic Quinoa Salad

I’ve been hearing so much about quinoa lately but I have to admit I’ve never had it. That is, until now. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a seed-like whole grain that cooks just like rice. It was first eaten by Incan warriors as their fuel for battle because it gave them such good energy and power. Quinoa is not only high in protein but is also:

Roasted Provencal Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables – Provencal Style

One night, we had dinner at my Uncle Carmen’s house and he made THE BEST roasted vegetables.  I couldn’t get enough.  I had seconds…and then I had thirds!  They were THAT good! Uncle Carmen and I are both lovers of all things food.  We talk about recipes and cooking and techniques.  He’s a great cook and we are always swapping recipes.   So, I managed to get his recipe for these heavenly roasted vegetables provencal style  and now I’m going to share it with you!

Uncle Carmen’s Sicilan Cauliflower

I have to admit it…I’m not a huge cauliflower fan.  Neither is my husband.  I don’t know if it’s the color, the texture, or the fact that for one of my 5th grade science projects, I used a head of cauliflower to represent a brain. Whatever it is, I’m just not a fan.

However, if you put my Uncle Carmen’s Sicilian Cauliflower on the table, you can consider it devoured!   In fact, whenever Uncle Carmen makes this dish for a family dinner, he usually has to double the recipe!  It’s gobbled up that quickly!

Parmesan Roasted Green Beans

This year, my garden produced a TON of green beans!  There is nothing like fresh beans picked from the vine.  They’re perfect!  With so many on hand, I began searching for new green bean recipes.  That’s when I stumbled upon this great recipe for Parmesan Roasted Green Beans on a great blog I found —  Cooking Tip of the Day.

Bread and Butter Pickles

For those of you that have been following my blog, you know that I’ve been dying to learn how to can!  A few weeks ago I sent out a plea for a little old lady to teach me!  I have to say, I was shocked (and touched) at how many people offered up their grandmas and aunts to me!

Well, I never did complete a canning apprenticeship with a little old lady.  But, this past weekend, my mother and I decided we were going to take the bull by the horns and teach ourselves! 

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m always on the lookout for dishes that I can pre-make for my work lunches.  So when this recipe popped up in my inbox I thought I would give it a try. 

My Mom’s 3 Bean Salad

Tonight, we had dinner at my grandparent’s house.  God love them….they’re 92 and still entertaining!  My grandmother made my favorite stuffed pork chops (with the stuffing on top so it gets all crispy and yummy!) and my mother brought a 3 bean salad.  It’s a new recipe that she tried.

Antipasta Platter

Antipasta Platter

My cousin, Donna, bring this great antipasta platter to all of our family get-togethers.  It’s one of my favorite appetizers ever!