Creamy Italian Herb Cucumbers & Tomatoes

Cucumbers and tomatoes is one of our favorite summer side dishes.  It’s going to be even better when we’ve got tomatoes from our garden and maybe some cucumbers too.

This time, I decided to try PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme as a dressing for the veggies.  It couldn’t be easier.  Just scoop some Italian Herb and Cheese Cooking Creme into the tomatoes and cucumbers and give it a stir.  So simple!

You can find quite a few recipes for cold dishes on the PHILLY Cooking Creme site, including this month’s featured recipe Creamy Asian Slaw.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the cucumbers and tomatoes:  [Read more…]

Turkey Legs, Italian Sausage and Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

Have you ever made a recipe that just didn’t turn out?  I’ve done it a lot of times, but one I remember well.

Jim and I were recently married and I was just learning to cook.  We used to invite friends to come to dinner and I would make a new recipe.  Most of our other meals during the week consisted of ramen noodles or instant potatoes.  We were college students and had no money, so it was a splurge to buy ingredients for a nice meal once a week.

On this occasion, I made a dish that had chicken, Italian sausage, potatoes and tomatoes in it.  The recipe called to bake it in the oven for 1 hour.  Needless to say, that was not nearly a long enough cooking time for so much meat and raw potatoes.  When I served it, we cut into raw chicken.  Yuck!

Thankfully, the guests we had were also college students.  They were easily satisfied with a bowl of cereal until the dinner had more time to cook.

I never tried making that recipe again, but I remember that when it finally cooked it did taste good.  So when Frigidaire recently asked me to share a “do-over” recipe, I knew this would be the one.  Except this time I made it in the slow cooker to give it a good, long cook time.

Frigidaire has a new Gallery dishwasher that features an OrbitClean Wash Arm that gets the dishes clean the first time.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to have a do-over on a load of dishes.  Frigidaire invites you to visit Facebook.com/Frigidaire to share your own “do-over” moment.  It doesn’t have to be food related.  One lucky visitor is going to win the ultimate do-over!  And Frigidaire is also donating $1 to Save the Children for every do-over submitted.  So pop over and share your do-over moment.

Back to my do-over recipe.  Here’s what you’ll need to try the slow cooker version, which worked out much better than the oven method I used so many years ago.  [Read more…]

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken Soup – with variations to fit your pantry

This soup has a lot of things going for it.

It can be made entirely in the slow cooker.

The chicken cooks in the soup, so no need for an extra step.

Just like taco soup, there are a million variations.  Use what you’ve got available in your pantry.

Here’s what I used:  [Read more…]

Hamburger Pasta Soup

I created this soup the other day when I needed something fast for dinner.  If you’ve got cooked hamburger in the freezer, this meal really comes together quick.  It’s a combination of Hamburger Vegetable Soup and Pasta Soup.

Feel free to vary the recipe according to what you like and what you have available in your pantry.  It’s a good one for using up small amounts of pasta.  You could also use rice or barley instead of the pasta.  And you might want to add more veggies.

Here’s what I used:  [Read more…]

Tortellini Meatball Soup with Mini Baguettes

This meal is so fast to get on the table.  The soup cooks up very quickly and Sister Schubert’s Mini Baguettes are not only the prefect accompaniment, they are also quick to the table.

Do you like dipping bread in your soup?  I do and these were perfect for doing that.  The outside of the baguette is crunchy, making them great for dipping.  The inside is soft and warm, which gives them a homemade taste.  I also really appreciate that they are individual servings, versus a whole loaf that needs to be cut.  When you need to get dinner to the table fast, every little time-saving step helps!

The other thing I love about this whole meal is that it requires no advanced planning.  It’s basically a pantry/freezer meal.  All the ingredients can be kept on hand and pulled out when you need them.  The Mini Baguettes warm in the oven while the soup comes together.   I love meals like this!

Here’s what you’ll need to make the soup:  [Read more…]

Gazpacho – Or what to do with zucchini from the neighbors

The fantastic thing about this soup is that it’s really just a bowl full of raw veggies.  But it tastes divine.  So good, you could just eat and eat it.  So good for you that you can do just that with no guilt.

It’s perfect for a hot, summer evening because it’s eaten cold.  I have to admit that freaked my kids out.  They did eat it, but they weren’t sure they liked cold soup.  Jim and I loved it though.

I adapted my recipe from Pioneer Woman, adding red bell pepper, jalepeno and parsley just because they were hanging out in my fridge.  I don’t own a food processor, so I used my pitiful blender that has been partially melted in the dishwasher.  It worked fine, so I guess I still don’t have an excuse to buy a food processor.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Summertime Tuna Tomato Salad

This is not your typical tuna salad.  There’s no mayo.

Instead, the tuna is served over avocado slices and topped with tomatoes, cilantro and a simple vinaigrette dressing.  The flavors are out of this world.  For complete happiness, serve it with good, crusty bread.

Oh yeah, you don’t need to turn the oven on for this dinner either.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Ingredient Spotlight: Tomatoes

Is there anything better than a tomato plucked straight from the garden?

I didn’t think so.

Tomatoes are a kitchen staple.  I have to admit, for recipes I mostly use the diced, canned variety.  They are convenient and taste good, even in winter.  When we have the real deal, ripe from the garden we eat them sliced on a plate or on a sandwich or in salad.  Anything that will highlight their perfection.

Here are some of my recipes that use tomatoes:  [Read more…]

Velma’s Chili from Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader

Have you read the Mitford series books by Jan Karon?  Father Tim and Cynthia feel like old friends and so do all the other characters that populate the small town of Mitford.

On my last library trip, I spotted the Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader.  It’s full of recipes mentioned in the books (Orange Marmalade Cake, anyone?) and also lots of excerpts.  Food and stories is a hard combination to beat.

One recipe that caught my attention was Velma’s Chili.  I did make a few changes to it.  For one, I used half the meat it called for.  Two pounds of meat for 6-8 servings sounded like too much.  I doubled it and made a few other alterations as well.  Here’s what you’ll need to make my version: [Read more…]

Beef and Bean Topped Potatoes

This is a quick meal, except for the potato baking.  But even that can be done in the microwave if you’re really pressed for time.

And there are a couple things you can do to make it even faster.  Keep cooked ground beef in the freezer so it’s ready to go for recipes like this.  You can also keep cooked bacon and onion in the freezer.

Or you can slow it down by putting the topping in the slow cooker until you’re ready for dinner.

Another bonus, this recipe is versatile.  Vary the ingredients for what you have in your pantry.  I don’t think you can mess this one up.  Nearly anything goes.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

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