• Cranberry Sweet Potato Casserole


    Not the prettiest dish to photograph, but it is so delicious!  Everyone LOVED this…even -s, who’s not too crazy about anything sweet potato.  Both kiddos requested that I make this again, and it will definitely be made at Thanksgiving.

    Adapted from Tara McConnell’s Hot Recipes in Cool Dishes.

    Filling Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
    • 1 c. Craisins (reduced sugar)
    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 4 TBSP butter, melted
    • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. allspice
    • 1/2 tsp. salt

    Topping Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 1 c. flour
    • 1 c. chopped pecans
    • 1/2 c. butter, melted


    1. Preheat oven to 400*.
    2. Add potatoes to a large pot of water; bring to a boil and cook until tender.
    3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine Craisins through salt.
    4. In another mixing bowl, combine the topping ingredients.
    5. When potatoes are tender, drain and return to pot; add Craisin sauce and mash with a potato masher.
    6. Spray a 3 qt baking dish (7 x 9 ish) with cooking spray and add potato mixture and spread topping over the potato mixture (may want to take a knife and spray with cooking spray to more easily spread the mixture).
    7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping has browned.

    Cranberry Sweet Potato Casserole:



  • 3 Bean and Corn Salad

    Aunt Nancy’s 3 Bean and Corn Salad is a Clark family staple.  It’s delicious and great for picnics, potlucks, summertime, and anytime!


    • 1/4 c. vegetable oil or olive oil
    • 2 T. white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
    • 1 T. soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp.  pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. salt (I omit)
    • 1 can (19 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 package (9 oz.) frozen green beans, but, thawed, and drained
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
    • 1/2 c. sliced green onions


    1. Mix/beat oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper with a fork until slightly thickened.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
    3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Toss before serving.  Serves 6.

    3 Bean and Corn Salad:


  • The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese


    I saw this pasta salad in the September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine, and I knew I had to try it.  I’ve now made this quite a few times, and I’ve adapted the recipe to our liking.

    It is delicious, and I love the addition of the lemon zest.  It’s a great summer pasta salad, which would be perfect for a picnic or potluck.  We’ll definitely be making this one again.


    • 1/3 c. olive oil
    • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
    • 2-3 shallots, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic presser
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 2 lbs. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used radiatore)
    • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1/2 c. basil, chopped
    • 1/4 c. mint, chopped
    • zest of 3 lemons


    1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and garlic in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sugar.  Add the tomatoes and gently toss.  Marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of slated water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
    3. Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and toss.  Stri in the basil, mint, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.
    4. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally until serving.

    The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese:


  • Garlic Curry Aioli


    I found a bag of frozen sweet potato fries at the grocery store.  They looked interesting, so I thought I’d give them a try, and see if they’d pass the test.

    I gave -s the job of finding a dip or something for the fries, because ketchup seemed well, wrong.

    He found this dip at Kirsten’s Home Cooking: Garlic Curry Aioli.  It is to die for!!!  If you love the curry dip at Melting Pot as I do, you will LOVE this dip!!!


    • 1/4 cup light mayo
    • 2 small (or 1 large) garlic clove, mashed to a paste with salt
    • Juice from 1/2 lemon
    • Dash of black pepper
    • 1 tsp. curry power, or more to taste
    • 1 dash cayenne pepper
    • Salt to taste


    1. Mash garlic into a fine paste with the side of a knife on a cutting board, using salt as an abrasive.
    2. Mix all ingredients together, serve with fries.

    Garlic Curry Aioli:


  • Latkes/Potato Pancakes


    Last year I made delicious latkes.  This year I wanted to try a new recipe, and since -s remembers his mom making potato pancakes when he was little, we asked her for her recipe.  By the looks of the recipe it looks like it came with her 1970 Osterizer blender! ;)


    So what’s the difference between a latke and a potato pancake?  For me, a latke is more like formed hash browns, like the ones I made last year, and potato pancakes are smooth…more like pancakes.


    • 3 c. cubed raw potato
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 TBSP flour
    • 1/2 small onion
    • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt


    1. Put 1/2 c. potato cubes, eggs, flour onion, baking powder and salt into a blender; cover and pulse on chop mode until smooth in texture.  Add the remaining potatoes and pulse on chop mode until mixture is smooth.
    2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  Put spoon fulls of batter into pan and fry until golden brown.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

    Latkes/Potato Pancakes:


  • Cranberry Jello Salad


    Jello salads and molded jello salads were all the rage in the 70′s and they still are for my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Most jello salads I don’t particularly care for, but I eat enough to be polite.  There is one exception.  My Great Aunt Arlene makes this wonderful raw cranberry jello salad every Thanksgiving.  It’s bright, cold, and refreshing, which is a nice contrast to the heavy hearty Thanksgiving meal.

    Since I’m not with my family for Thanksgiving this year, I emailed Aunt Arlene for the recipe and made it for my family.

    It didn’t disappoint.

    My son said “this is the best jello I’ve ever had.”  And he had 3 helpings!

    I think what makes this jello salad so delicious is that it has all fresh fruit…none of the canned stuff.

    Try it…you’ll really like it!

    Ingredients Option 1:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • orange segments and juice from 1 orange
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 small box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Ingredients Option 2:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 6 oz. can of pineapple juice
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 large box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Directions for Option 1:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange segments and orange juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl.  Chill until set.

    Directions for Option 2:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, and pineapple juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl.  Chill until set.

    Cranberry Jello Salad:


  • Easy Homemade Mac-N-Cheese


    I’m not ashamed to admit that I like boxed mac-n-cheese, especially with some chipotle Tabasco sauce.  I’ve made homemade mac-n-cheese before, and most of the time the result is disappointing.

    The most important thing I’ve learned is the type of cheese you use is extremely important.  Regular mild cheddar doesn’t melt well and doesn’t have any flavor, so your mac-n-cheese will have an odd consistency and be bland.  Even if you don’t like sharp cheese for regular eating use it for you mac-n-cheese…I promise you will love it and you won’t taste the sharpness.  I used Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar, I totally recommend it.

    This recipe is adapted from the October 2009 issue of Southern Living.


    • 2 c. milk
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • 2 TBSP all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 10 oz. block of Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)
    • 10 oz. package elbow macaroni, cooked


    1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
    2. Preheat oven to 400.
    3. Microwave milk on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt butter over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
    5. Gradually whisk in warm milk and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
    6. Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 c. shredded cheese, and red pepper until smooth; stir in cooked pasta.  Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2 qt. baking disk; top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

    Homemade Mac-N-Cheese:


  • Arepas


    Arepas are a delicious Colombian treat.  Don’t know what an arepa is, then think gordita/chalupa with a Colombian flare.  Delicious with just about anything, and especially delicious topped with guacamole or an avocado salad.

    This recipe comes Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitatlity by Anya von Bremzen.  The cookbook is out of print, and the cover of my cookbook is different than the one Amazon has, so I can’t be sure the recipe is actually in there.


    • 2 c. milk
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1 1/2 c. white or yellow arepa flour (aka masarepa or arepaharina) (we use Goya brand and I prefer yellow)
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 TBSP sugar
    • 1 c. grated mozzarella cheese


    1. In a small saucepan bring 1 1/2 c. milk to a boil.  Pour boiled milk into a bowl and add the butter.  Let stand.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the arepa flour, salt, sugar and cheese.  Make a well in the center and pour in the hot milk.  Stir the masa and milk together  utnil there are no lumps.  Knead the mixture, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 c. milk, until you have a smooth sticky dough.  This should take about 5 minutes.
    3. Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick sheet between two pieces of wax paper.  With a cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass, cut out 3-inch circles.  You should get 8.
    4. You can either fry the arepas in oil or skillte fry them in a nonstick pan with just a bit of oil or cooking spray.
    5. Top with guacomole or whatever you like.



  • Rachel’s Famous Pasta Salad


    This is a very easy and very tasty pasta salad…even -s and TT ate it up.  I think next time I’ll do without the cheddar and jack cheese and instead try feta for an extra punch.

    Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Griffith.


    • 2 bottles light Italian dressing
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 large sized cucumber, chopped
    • 1 large green, red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
    • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
    • 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed
    • You could also add olives, artichoke hearts, feta instead of the other cheeses etc.


    • Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
    • Meanwhile chop veggies and cheese and put in a large bowl; then add one bottle of salad dressing.  Allow veggies and cheese to marinate.
    • When pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water, then dump a bunch of ice cubes on the pasta to stop the cooking process and help it cool quickly.
    • Once pasta is completely cool, add to veggie mixture; toss to coat and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
    • Before serving, toss pasta salad, and add more dressing, if desired.

    Pasta Salad:


  • Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad


    We had short ribs for dinner tonight, and I needed a quick side dish to go with it.  This salad came out so delicious, and I will definitely make this one again!


    • 1 c. whole wheat cous cous
    • 1 1/2 c. water
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • salt
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 c. English cucumber, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 /2 of an orange, yellow, red, or green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 c. artichoke hearts
    • Juice of one lemon
    • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 c. fresh herbs, minced (I used mint and basil)


    1. In a covered saucepan, bring cous cous, water, olive oil, and salt to a boil; then turn off heat and keep on burner for 5 to 7 minutes.  After 7 or so minutes fluff cous cous with a fork.
    2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes through lemon juice in a bowl; then add the cous cous, and toss to combine; then add the feta cheese and herbs and toss once again. Taste and correct seasoning, if necessary.

    Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad: