Monthly Archives: September 2011

Veggie Salsa Salad

Dieting has always been a part of my life. Because of being a connoisseur of “good” food, “diet” food has always seemed to lack the luster and sparkle of calorie and carb packed meals. Determined to find an enjoyable meal while on a diet, this fresh salad was born. With a “salsa” of veggies, this salad is popping with color, flavor, and texture.

  • Head of iceberg lettuce
  • Head of purple cabbage
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • purple onion
  • sprigs of parsley
  • baby carrots

Slice iceberg lettuce in thick slices. Cut purple cabbage in coordinating sizes. Stagger iceberg lettuce and purple cabbage on plate. Dice tomato, yellow pepper, and purple onion. Slice carrots. Sprinkle tomatoes, yellow pepper, purple onion, and carrots over arranged lettuce and cabbage. Add parsley to garnish. Enjoy with your favorite fat free dressing!


Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable


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Pecan Chews and Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies:

 Peanut butter lovers welcome! Light and airy, these chewy treats will having you coming back for seconds and thirds.

  • ½ c chunky peanut butter
  • ½ c shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1¼ c all-purpose flour
  • a dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350°. In large mixing bowl beat peanut butter and shortening with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in baking soda, salt, and as much flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Using a level teaspoon, shape dough into balls. Flatten balls by making crisscross marks with times of fork dipped into granulated sugar. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown.

Pecan Chews:


  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup light-color corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat over to 350º. Line a baking sheet with foil, extending foil over the edges of the sheet; set baking sheet aside.

For crust, in a medium bowl stir together flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, stir together eggs, pegans, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and the melted butter. Pour over the baked crust, spreading evenly. Bake for 20 minutes more or until the filling is set. Cool completely. Transfer to cutting board, cut into bars.

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Dessert


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Rotini with Steamed Beans and Pork Chops



Growing up in an Italian household, pasta was a dish I constantly craved. This quick version of pasta sauce was inspired by my busy life, but insatiable appetite for the addictive blend of pasta and tomato. Quick and relatively simple, this is a dish you could throw together in approximately 30-40 minutes.


  • 1 lb Rotini pasta
  • 15 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Onion Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Parsley

Put a large pot of water on stove. Turn to high heat. In a separate small pot, coat the bottom with a thin layer of Olive oil- just enough to cover. Coarsely chop garlic. Add to the small pot, turning onto a low heat. Cook garlic only until you begin to smell its aroma. Quickly add diced tomatoes and stir. Raise to medium heat. Add Italian seasoning, Cayenne pepper, Garlic salt, and onion salt to taste. Once the sauce has reached a soft boil, reduce to a simmer. (If your sauce seems too “watery” add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste).

Once the large pot has come to a rolling boil, add pasta. Stir frequently to break up pasta. Wait till the water has returned to a steady rolling boil, only then reduce to lower heat. Add salt to water to taste. Once pasta is al dente, strain and let drain in sink. Pour tomato sauce back into pasta pot. Bring sauce to a light simmer, add strained pasta back. Stir and serve! (you can add chopped parsley to this dish as well as using it as a garnish)

Steamed Beans:

  • 1 lb of fresh string beans
  • sliced mini bella mushrooms
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Bowl of ice water

In a medium pot, fill 1/3 of the way with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add trimmed beans and a dash of salt to taste. Keep the water at a steady simmer and cover with lid. Stir occasionally, tasting to check when they are cooked. In a small frying pan, lightly sauté bella mushrooms in a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Once beans are cooked, pour into bowl of ice water. Drain and serve with mushroom garnish and a light toss with olive oil.

Pork Chop:

  • 4 pork chops with bone
  • McCormick’s® Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place a large frying pan on stove. Let preheat on a medium heat, until water will sizzle when touched to pan. Pierce pork chops with a knife or a sharp fork, opening up the meat to allow the seasoning to penetrate the center. Lightly dress the chops in olive oil and a generous sprinkling of McCormick’s® Montreal Steak Seasoning. Once pan is ready, add chops. Sear meat one to two minutes; turn over and sear flip side. Lower to medium heat. Check meat for pinkness, when there is no longer signs of pink, take out of pan and serve!

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Main Dish, Meat


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Venison Chili

My husband has been a hunter since childhood. Because of this, even in our dating life, Tom supplied me with a new meat, venison. Blissfully unaware, I was a bit hesitant to try this gamey meat. It is now among my favorite meat “mediums”! I love trying it in new dishes and seeing its flavor played out in so many different ways. Here is my first attempt at chili!

Venison Chili

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs ground venison
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • cayenne pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 15 oz. can beans, rinsed and drained
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 10 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed
  • Sprig of celery leaves
  • Grated mixed cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the ground venison, breaking it up with a fork, until cooked through. Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the venison to a paper towel-lined plate.

Tomato Sauce: In separate pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice 2 garlic cloves and lightly simmer over low heat until soft. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sprig of celery leaves. Refill used can of crushed tomatoes with water so that there are equal parts of crushed tomato and water. Add to sauce. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano to taste. Let simmer.

Using a medium sized pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, and garlic and sauté until softened. Season with dashes of oregano and cayenne pepper. Add the browned venison, beans, diced tomatoes, 2 cups tomato sauce, and corn. Reseason with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls and top with a sprinkling of cheese.



Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Main Dish


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M&M Cookies

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c crisco
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • generous splash vanilla extract
  • dollop of black strap molasses
  • 2 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups M&M’s

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl cream butter, olive oil, crisco, brown sugar, vanilla extract,and molasses together. Whip batter vigorously. Mix flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add flour/baking soda mixture to whipped batter. Mix until just combined; add M&M’s.

Spoon onto nonstick baking sheet with a teaspoon. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized