• Sweet Chili-Glazed Tofu


    I picked up the America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers magazine at the store, because I am always looking for quick and tasty meals to prepare.  There were a number of recipes that caught my eye, and this tofu dish did not disappoint.  We will certainly make this dish again.

    Recipe adapted from the Winter 2010 30-Minute Suppers by America’s Test Kitchen.


    • 1 block of firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 1/2 c. Asian sweet chili sauce
    • 6 TBSP soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP grated fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 1 head of broccoli and/or snap peas (or any veggie), steamed or blanched
    • Hot rice


    1. Line a baking sheet with either paper towels or a clean kitchen towel; then place cut tofu on the towel; top with more towels; then top with another pan.  Drain tofu for about 15 minutes.
    2. Once tofu is drained, remove the towels, spray the tofu with cooking spray and bake in a 400* oven until tofu is crisp.
    3. Meanwhile steam or blanch the broccoli in salted water.
    4. Whisk chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger and cornstarch in a bowl.
    5. Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chili sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Add the baked tofu and the broccoli and toss to coat.  Serve over rice.

    Sweet Chili-Glazed Tofu:


  • 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:


  • Tofu and Eggplant with Thai Coconut Red Curry Sauce


    We had some delicious looking eggplant sitting in the fridge that we bought from at the Farmer’s Market.  I just knew it would be delicious in a curry.  So I used my favorite Thai red curry recipe (made a few changes) and planned the dish around the eggplant.  You could easily add chicken or beef, but I chose to go with tofu, and it was delicious!


    • Extra firm tofu, sliced and drained
    • 2 c. sliced eggplant
    • Olive oil
    • Salt
    • Dark sesame oil
    • 3 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 tsp. curry powder
    • 1-2 tsp. red curry paste
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
    • 1/2 c. chopped green onions
    • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 TBSP of Thai basil (optional)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Hot cooked rice
    • Lime wedges


    1. Line one baking sheet with 6 layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel.  Cut tofu and arrange tofu on baking sheet.  Top the tofu with 6 more layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel.  Place another baking sheet on top of the paper towels fro 30 to 45 minutes–this provides the weight needed to extract the water from the tofu.
    2. Preheat oven to 400.
    3. Remove the paper towels from the tofu and spray the tofu with cooking spray and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile slice the eggplant and place on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Roast in the oven until the eggplant is nice and soft, but still retains its shape, about 10-15 minutes.
    5. Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add red pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sugar, and coconut milk and bring to a simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat and add the baked tofu and roasted eggplant; then stir in green onion, cilantro, and basil.
    6. Serve over rice and squeeze with a lime wedge.

    Tofu and Eggplant with Thai Coconut Red Curry Sauce:


  • Roasted Tomato and Feta Sauce


    This is so easy and so tasty.  It was a really good way to use up some of our fresh garden tomatoes.  The feta gives the pasta nice seasoning, so if you omit the feta, be sure to add some more salt

    • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • Kosher salt, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp.)
    • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
    • 6 oz. crumbled feta
    • 1 c. fresh basil, chiffonade
    • 1 lb. pasta


    1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
    2. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast until the tomatoes get juicy, about 15-25 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile cook pasta according to package.  When pasta is done transfer to a large serving bowl; then add the roasted tomatoes to the pasta as well as the feta and toss.  Top with basil.

    Roasted Tomato and Feta Sauce:


  • Homemade Red Sauce


    We have tons of fresh ripe tomatoes, and what better way to use some of these delicious tomatoes than to make a homemade pasta sauce!

    Absolutely d’lish, and worth most definitely worth the time.


    • 16 med-large ripe tomatoes
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
    • salt to taste
    • sugar to taste
    • 10 basil leaves, chopped


    1. With a sharp knife cut a small “x” on the bottom of each tomato, just enough to pierce the skin; then blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 1 minute.  Peel and seed the tomatoes and puree in a food processor.
    2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in pan; then add the garlic, and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil.  Simmer uncovered until the sauce reduces by half.  Add salt and sugar to taste.
    3. Stir in basil just before serving.

    Homemade Red Sauce:


  • 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:


  • Pasta Salad


    My mother-in-law started makes a delicious pasta salad during the summertime, and this is my version.  It’s super tasty, and it works well as a main dish or a side dish.


    • 1/8 to 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 8 to 10 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • salt
    • 1 lb. pasta
    • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cubed
    • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chiffonade
    • 1 c. quartered artichoke hearts


    1. Cook pasta according to package
    2. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and add some salt.
    3. Heat olive oil in a skillet; then add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes; then add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
    4. Put pasta in a big bowl, add the tomatoes and garlic with the oil and toss to combine.  Then add the cheese, basil, and artichoke hearts and toss again.

    Pasta Salad: