Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Momma's Macaroni Salad

Momma's Macaroni Salad
     What says summer better than an old fashioned BBQ? Right! You gather together with friends or family. Everyone prepares something. There is the chicken, burgers or dogs on the grill, the potato salad, the fries and the brews, but what about the favorite standby of macaroni salad? Who is going to make it this year? Is it mom with her amazing yet so simple recipe or your best friend? How about you this time! Well here is a simple yet delicious recipe that is actually my mother’s. She has always made this. So easy and so delicious that once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. This macaroni salad will definitely become your go to dish for summer gatherings and picnics. Please enjoy my Momma’s Macaroni Salad.


  • 1 cup uncooked macaroni pasta
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 4 small sweet pickles
  • 1 tomato
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup miracle whip
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • salt/pepper
  • dash of paprika

1.       Cook macaroni as directed and rinse under cold water

2.       Boil egg and dice up

3.       Dice tomato and pickle up into small chunks

4.       In a large bowl combine macaroni, egg, pickle and tomato

5.       Mix in the miracle whip, yellow mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

6.       Dash some paprika on top for looks.

Simple, delicious, and will definitely become your macaroni salad favorite. Enjoy!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

     This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine on Google+ Brittany M who had created some wonderful looking flatbread recipes. I wanted something that I had sort of had out in California on my last trip out there in February to visit some family and friends and to just get away from the blistering cold that is West Virginia in the winter. I had had this wonderful simple caramelized onion and ham recipe at my friend Andrea’s mother’s house. We had gone over there to visit her as it was the first time I was meeting her mother. She had some wine for us and this delicious little baked flatbread as we sat in the living room and chatted and got to know each other. Upon arriving back in West Virginia I had been craving this simple dish but kept putting it off until I could find the time to create it and find a good flatbread recipe that wouldn’t be difficult. Low and behold my friend on one of my food communities had posted one and was very generous enough to give me her recipe.

     This simple and easy flatbread is so good either right out of the oven or the next day as a simple snack out of the fridge. The creaminess from the ricotta, the sweetness from the honey and caramelized onions and the saltiness from the bacon add the perfect combination of flavors in one bite. The most time consuming part of this recipe is standing there and caramelizing the onions but it is so worth it. Please enjoy my take on Bacon and Caramelized Onion Flatbread.


Flatbread recipe:

 Serves: Makes 2 flatbreads
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. granulated-sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1. Combine yeast and water in mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let stand a minute or two.
2. Add in flour (start with 2 ½ cups and add in more if needed), salt, sugar and oil. And start mixing.
3. Mix to combine, about 2-3 minutes. If dough is sticky add in remaining flour, and continue mixing for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Place in an oil bowl and cover with plastic and let sit 30 minutes.
( I cut the recipe in half to make only one flatbread)

(Brittany M’s link to her website below)

  • roughly 8oz ricotta
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • salt/pepper
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • 7 slices bacon
  • 1/2 white onion diced

1.       In a large skillet brown and cook bacon until crispy and remove and drain on paper towel lined plate.

2.       In same skillet sauté diced onions on low heat until nice and brown and the caramelized has finished. (Hint: I add a little sprinkle of sugar to help out the process)

3.       Take ricotta cheese and mix in a bowl with a little salt, pepper, pinch of thyme powder, pinch of rosemary, and drizzle of honey.

4.       Now I rolled out the dough for the flatbread, drizzled a bit of olive oil over. Dimpled with my finger tips and spread the ricotta mixture over top.

5.       Placed the onions and crumbled bacon evenly over the top of the ricotta mixture.

6.       Placed in a 400 degree oven and baked for about 25 minutes until the flatbread was crisp and brown. Drizzle with some honey and serve once cooled.

     This flatbread was so good and had to share it with my friends down at the river the next day. I would possibly recommend cooking the flatbread a bit before placing the toppings on just to make sure the crispiness was even. Fantastic dish and very appreciative to Brittany for giving me the recipe and to Andrea and her mother for serving it to me the first time.

 Prep Time Total: 1 hour ½
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 2-4


Brittany M’s blog: http://cookingwithbrittany.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

     The sun has begun to set over the Mediterranean Sea. It is slowly sinking under the cover that is the blue green ocean of a blanket. The sky is a beautiful collage of reds and oranges. You are perched just comfortably at a little table overlooking the scene on a little white balcony. You can hear the sound of the waves gently hitting the rocks and cliffs below. A few boats are still out in the bay drifting by and you can faintly hear them buzzing. A soft accordion music is playing from inside the cobble stoned restaurant. There  is a sweet smell of fresh flowers and lemons in the air. No it is not coming from an arrangement on your table but rather the natural smell of the tiny village you have decided to claim. A lemon tree sits beside your table along with the fresh flowers growing on the side of the cliff that tickle your nose. The air is warm and a bit humid but with the breeze coming in off the water it is fresh and calming. You take a small sip from the wine glass that has been given to you by the lovely dark haired waitress that greeted you. What could be  more perfect? And then it happens…. The lovely dark haired lady is returning to your table and bringing you a small plate with what looks like some fried little sticks. She lays them in front of you and gently says, “Boun Appetito”. You respond with a nervous, “Grazie” as she saunters away smiling. You take a bite and the most wonderful thing happens. Your mouth is met with a fantastic combination of the cheese and herbs stuffed inside and the crispiness from the coating. You savor the taste of this simple appetizer  that you cannot wait to eat more of it. You sit back, smile, and know that you are in heaven.

     Stuffed Zucchini Flowers; this is what I think of  when I eat, Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. I had them on one of my trips to Italy. Specifically the Amalfi coast which is the description above. Now as it turns out, my mother and grandmother used to make this a lot, but low and behold they never did for me and my siblings. (A nice little piece of information I would have liked to have known as  a child). My mother says that grandma just stopped making them and she did too. Just one of the things I guess they decided to not continue down the tradition line. Oh well, I digress. Either way, they are now being brought back to the family. Stuffed Zucchini Flowers


  • 24 zucchini flowers
  • 1/2 block of cream cheese
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbs Italian herb seasoning, (I just used a combo bottle of basil, oregano, garlic, parsley, etc)
  • lemon juice
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 cup flower
  • 1 cup water

1. Rinse and remove the outer green around the base of the flowers and remove the inner stamen. (Be care not to break through the blossoms.

2. Paper dry the blossoms until all the water is gone

3. Combine the softened cream cheese, ricotta, and herb mixture together. Taste and add salt and pepper for your flavor and a little lemon juice.

4. Now carefully stuff a bit of the mixture into each blossom. You can use a pastry bag so as to make it easier.

5. Combine the flour and water mixture and add a little salt. Carefully take each zucchini blossom and twist the ends of the petals together to seal the inside mixture and dredge each one in the flour water mixture. Let excess drain off.

6. Now in a deep fryer or in a skillet with about 2 inches of oil heated over medium high heat drop a blossom into the oil one at a time. Careful not to overcrowd the oil. I usually only fry about 3 at a time.

7. Fry for a couple minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
      That's it. Simple, delicious, flavorful, and so easy to make. These brought me back to my time on the Amalfi coast. A fantastic little appetizer that everyone will love. Hope you enjoy!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4-5


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Sausage Simmer

Sausage Summer Simmer
      Ever have those evening where you just have no idea what to make? You open your fridge and freezer and just stand there…….Thinking about what you could possibly put together that would help your craving. Do I want chicken? No! Do I want burger? No! Do I want something simple like cereal or and boxed meal? No! No! And no!. Then you see some Italian sausage. You think I could sauté them add some fresh garden vegetables and make a simple skillet simmer. Exatcly!! And you have a completely new and exciting dinner meal that you can add to your recipe box.  Summer Sausage Simmer.

  • 4 Italian sausages
  • Garlic
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 squash
  • Small bulb of fennel
  • Handful of small yellow potatoes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
1.       Dice the sausage into bite size pieces. Sauté in a skillet in a little olive oil over medium high heat until browned.
2.       Remove and set aside. In same skillet sauté diced zucchini, squash, diced fennel bulb, and bite size potatoes.
3.       Pour in the chicken stock and white wine.
4.       Add back in the sausage and salt and pepper.
5.       Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes on low until all ingredients are cooked through
     This little simmer pot was fantastic. I served with a spinach salad on the side. Fulfilling and delicious.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30  minutes
Serves: 2-4