Introducing Creativity To The Alternative Diet: Many of us have segued from traditional dietary lifestyle to alternative dietary lifestyles, i.e. Gluten free, Vegan, Grain free, Real food, etc. What are we discovering?? These recipes are NOT mediocre!

Monday, July 28, 2008


We had all of Staci's recipes last night for dinner. They were so good! I had a friend over for dinner and was hoping she wouldn't like the stuffed mushrooms (more for me!) but she did! (It seems like people love or loath mushrooms.) Anyway, everything was so good. Even though I have always wanted to have a recipe for panzanella and try it, I wasn't sure what everyone else would think of this new dish. Well... everyone loved it! It was all gone. The chicken and mushrooms were very good too. I followed all the recipes as instructed and was glad I did. We had two more friends join us for the grilled banana splits and again everyone loved it! What a great idea. We have had grilled pineapple before and really liked that, the bananas were good too! I think we'll have all these things again! Seven thumbs up!

Panazanella Review

Great for summer! Thank you Staci for choosing this dish. I had only made panazanella once before and I forgot how much I liked it. I did everything the way the recipe called and we had a great dinner. I just couldn't stop eating the bread chunks out of the salad when we were finished. The next morning I seperated the bread (it was too soggy) out and used the onion mixture over my omlete. That was really good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Great Grillers!

So the day I chose to make this recipe it was raining and 52ish degrees - not ideal grilling weather. We did end up grilling the chicken, corn on the cob (our veggie of choice) and the bananas, but the onions and bread I "grilled" up on my cast iron skillet. The chicken was flavorful, the bread salad was fresh-tasting and unique, but the dessert definitely stole the show. It was so yummy! For anyone who hasn't made the meal yet, I found a really easy, tasty chocolate sauce recipe at
Admittedly, I have a favorite stuffed mushroom recipe, but it was nice to try something different - and they were quite good! Thank you, Staci, for some great recipes!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Serena's Salmon

Finally got to do the salmon! Sorry it took so long it was yummy as were the potatoes and salad. Think I liked the savory as opposed to sweet potatoes though the girls scarfed the sweet so it worked out great! Wanted to do the drink and dessert but just didn't manage my time well enough. Will definitely be a redo meal. Thanks Serena! (oh and no pic cause I can't find my camera :(

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grilled Chicken with Panazanella Salad, stuffed mushrooms and Grilled banana splits

Hello ladies, I hope you are ready to "get your grill on". This week we get to prove that women and grill too! I had planned on doing a fun burger recipe to spice up the summer menu but seem to have lost it. So, I am trying a new recipe along with you. The main dish comes from my favorite cooking magazine and I have never been disappointed by them! The appetizer is a rachel ray recipe that I have used several times! The dessert is something I made up and hope you like it as well! I hope you all enjoy!

I like to do these mushrooms as an appetizer but think they would also be a great side to the dinner if you prefer it all together.
  • 4 portabello mushroom caps, or 8 large white mushroom caps
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for brushing mushrooms, plus 1/8cup
  • 5 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (I usually use fresh and cook it down first)
  • 3 oz quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
  • 3/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 egg yolk, I separate the egg and then using a teaspoon add about half the yolk to the mixture
  • 1 clove garlic, grated with microplane or small side box grater
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

Pre-heat grill to medium-high and oven to 425°F.

Using a damp towel, brush mushroom caps to clean. Using a pastry brush, coat the caps with EVOO and grill with lid down or roast about 5-6 minutes, turning once, until tender but still firm at center.

Wring the spinach out in a clean kitchen towel. Separate the spinach with your fingers and combine with artichokes, ricotta cheese, egg yolk, grated garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and nutmeg.

Remove mushroom caps from grill.

Divide the stuffing evenly between caps. Sprinkle the caps with Parmesan and cook 5-6 minutes more in the pre-heated oven to set filling and lightly brown tops.

Grilled Chicken with Panzanella Salad
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 in rounds
4 (1 inch thick) slices italian bread
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (any variety will work)
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
3 Tb red wine vinegar

1. Combine oil and garlic in medium bowl and microwave until bubbling, about 1 minute. Brush onion slices with 1 Tb oil mixture and grill over hot fire until lightly charred, aobut 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large bowl. Brush bread with 1 Tb oil mixture and grill over hot fire until golden, about 1 minute per side. transfer to cutting board.
2. Pat Chicken dry with paper towels. Brush chicken with 1 Tb. oil mixture and season with salt and pepper. Grill over hot fire until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer toplate and tent with foil.
3.Add tomatoes, basil, vineagr and remaining oil mixture to bowl with grilled onions and toss to combine. Cut bread into 3/4 in chunks then fold into tomato mixture. Transfer chicken and bread salad to individual plates and serve.

**Clean a portion of grill to do bananas**
Grilled Banana Splits
2 ripe bananas (not over ripe)
2 Tb honey (plus additional to drizzle over ice cream)
2 Tb grond cinnamon
2 Tb sugar
vanilla ice cream
chocolate sauce, honey, or bourbon(optional)
whip cream (optional)
marachino cherries (optional)

Leaving peel on cut bananas in half lengthwise and then crosswise, creating 4 pieces with each banana. Lay on a plate cut side up. Drizzle honey over bananas, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, let sit 5 minutes.

Place on clean grill grate cut side down and grill 2 minutes or until grill marks appear, turn over and grill additional 5 minutes or until skin starts to peel away.

Place two pieces of banana in a bowl with a scop of ice cream in the center. drizzle with more honey, bourbon or choclate sauce, add a dollop of whip cream, and a cherry and serve.

Enjoy ladies!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recipe Coming......

So just a quick note to let you all know that I haven't forgotten to post my recipe but am trying to find it!!! While in the process of moving I misplaced it and plan to search for it tomorrow and will post our next recipe by Wed. morning at the latest! Sorry for the delay and I hope you find it worth the wait!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's for Dinner?

I subscribe to Everyday Food Magazine and really like the recipes that come in it. I just was thumbing thru this issue and there was an add for a daily recipe blog called Dinner Tonight. So thought I'd share - it looks pretty cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

No room for dessert

So i made the salmon the other day and my plan was to make everything but the drink. But the salad and salmon were so dran good that no one had room for the dessert. We had a pretty good laugh and a GREAT meal that will for sure be around this house for a long time!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday Salmon

I made this meal yesterday. We had Andy's brother and his wife over for dinner. I never make a meal I haven't prepared before when we are expecting company but for some reason this felt different, like an exception was okay. We started out with a Mondavi Chardonnay with sushi as an appetizer, which was really yummy! Then was dinner... I pretty much followed the instructions, well with a few variations. First of all, I have been on a pinenut kick so in the salad I used pinenuts. I also used an olive oil that has thyme, basil, oregano and garlic to accompany the balsamic vinegar. For the dessert I used Serena's recipe for inspiration. I made a lemon pound cake and we had fresh strawberry-blueberry shortcake. And topped it with whipped cream. The overall consensous was YummYumm, this is really good! I will make all of these recipes again however I didn't like the sweet potato with the sweet glaze, I found myself wishing for a savory potato to go with the sweet salmon. But over all I loved everything. Definate redo's!

Serena's Salmon

I cooked up the maple-glazed salmon and rosemary potatoes last week and loved them both! I have a sweet-tooth so I literally shoveled down the salmon. I would have never thought to bake salmon with nuts, but they were a great addition. I am not sure that I got my glaze to the right consistency as it was very liquid-y, but I was probably just too impatient. Thankfully, the salmon still had great flavor. I did not use sweet potatoes in the potato recipe (just baby red potatoes), but realized while eating the salmon that they would have tied in nicely with the sweet glaze. As I made this as an after-work mid-week meal, I didn't manage the dessert, drink or quite as gourmet of a salad, but got some great ideas. Serena, I love your cooking style: it is so colorful and creative. Thanks for some great recipes!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grill anyone???

Hey Ladies,
I am starting to think of recipes for next week and with the hot weather we are hopefully all enjoying thought of grilling. However, I was not sure if everyone has a grill. Please let me know what you think asap so, I can plan accordingly! If we can't all grill I have some great back up ideas but if we can grill I will save those for the next time I post!
Cheers to you all!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Full Meal Deal!

Wow Serena, that was quite the full menu! Nothing like giving me a tough act to follow! I made most of the dinner tonight. I didn't do the drink or dessert because I wasn't planning on doing the meal tonight and was missing some key ingredients. I will have to try those later. I absolutely loved the salad! The salmon and potatoes were fabulous as well. I did do a few substitutions but still everything worked out well.

So, what I did was this..... I never turned on the oven and did it all on the grill. I followed the recipe but rather than bake the potatoes or fish I wrapped them in foil and followed th e rest of the recipe (i did however add olive oil to the fish to prevent it from sticking to the foil, this was not needed with the potatoes). When the fish was almost done I opened the foil, brushed on the glaze and cooked a few more minutes with foil open. I did basically the same thing with the potatoes. I used baby reds split in half rather than the diced combo (again, only because I had them on hand) and they were so yummy!!!!

This salad was awesome! I did change a few things (again what I had on hand) and omitted the apple and included raspberries. It looked so pretty we didn't want to eat it! (I would take a pic but my camera died).

This is a meal I will definitely make again. The only change I would do is to serve my salad last in hopes of filling up my daughter on the salmon and potatoes rather than having her steal all my berries! She was a fan of the salad as well!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better late then never!

I was on vacation last week so I just had a chance to make the chicken marsala. Oh man it was so good! I wish I would have made the sause thicker but it sure was good. It also was just as good for lunch today! Now at this point i don't know who is enjoying this more me or Nathan. We will for sure make this again and again and again! =)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Here we go girls.... Maple Salmon & Rosemary Potatoes

This may look complicated but really is a very easy meal to prepare. I hope you like it!!

: sauté 4 cloves diced garlic and 1/3 cup coarsely chopped onion. Cut potatoes into bite size chunks (I used 2 very large- enough to yield about 4-5 cups raw)
1 very large sweet potato
1 very large white potato
2 Tbls spoons melted butter
2 Tbls spoons olive oil
Fresh Rosemary (amt: is to your liking)
2 tsp. Coarse salt
Poor butter and olive oil over potatoes & mix well to cover potatoes in a light coating fold in garlic, onion and rosemary and coarse salt bake on 350 for aprox 40 min or until done (fork test) Finish by broiling for aprox. 5-10 min. Watch very closely so they don’t burn.

SALMON: ½ lemon and squeeze juice over salmon. Bake on 350 for 15 min / brush on maple glaze and sprinkle on a few crushed pecans & bake another 5 min then to Finish-broil for 1 to 2 min to finish and top with little more maple glaze just before serving.SIDE NOTE: don't overcook salmon or will get dried out. I use only center cut salmon... the tails tend to get to dry. You can finger test your salmon to see if it is done. When you press down on the salmon with your finger you should be able to feel the juices rolling inside and your salmon will be a bit flaky.

MAPLE GLAZE: ½ to ¾ Cup real maple syrup - bring to a rolling boil on med-hi and reduce by a third & let cool slightly but not to long or it will thicken up to much. (*Note.. If your glaze does thicken up to much or harden…when you warm it back up to thin it out a little you can add just a little bit of cream which will give you more of a maple cream glaze which I think would be yummy too or you could add another table spoon of maple syrup…but don’t boil again just warm)

I served dinner with this wonderful Basil LemonLimeAde
I did my own version of this wonderful summer beverage but I did not measure anything. You first have to start by making a basil simple syrup. I used 5 lemons and 3 limes and cold botteled water. You can get the simple syrup reciepe off the foodnetwork page. Search for basil lemonade or Italian Lemonade and it should have the basil simple syrup there.

SUMMER SALAD: ** Note: I prepared each salad individually 6 med to large size strawberries sliced (2 per salad)
15 Black berries (5 per salad)
1/2 apple cut into small bite size chunks
Red/Purple onion sliced (amt. to your liking)
Red pepper sliced (amt. to your liking)
Sliced and halved cucumber pieces (amt to your liking)
Goat Cheese or Feta (aprox. 1/3 Cup crumbled)
1/3 Heaping cup of Glazed Pecans ( I broke them in half by hand) (you can do a quick glaze on them with 1 ½ Tbs. Brown sugar and ½ Tlbs butter in a small sauté pan on med-hi. Heat till butter melts and dissolves brown sugar creating a light candy coating on pecans. This should only take about 2 min. ** Note: STIR CONSTANTLY. After pecans are candied spread out on a plate and allow to cool and dry before putting on salad)
Add all your salad ingredients to a bed of field greens or I used a combo of fresh Spinach and fresh Romaine lettuce
DRESSING:Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar ** We used Fig balsamic vinegar and olive oil**

: Fresh Berries - I used blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and both red and green grapes.
3 Tbls. Lemon Curd
1 Cup Cool Whip
Shaved Chocolate
Mix Lemon Curd and Cool Whip together. On dessert plate arrange berries top w/ cool whip and lemon curd mixture finish with a few berries on top and shaved chocolate

THIS MEAL SERVES 3 VERY WELL!! (if you need 6 you can just double everything) Happy Eating!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

We're in Love with the Sauce!

So we're not sure if this is cheating but we (Staci and Carrie) made this meal together. We did not set out that way but we were making it the same night and going out together after so just decided to combine!

This was my (Carrie) first time pounding out chicken thus the crazy/hilarious pic my husband took we lauched so hard at it, hope you do too!

We all (Staci, Carrie, and the rest of those eating this meal) wished there had been 4x's the sauce!! We took Stacy M's advice and threw the pasta in which was so good but then we had no sauce for our chicken which was so sad. Neither of us are huge mushroom fans so we did zucchini instead which was really good. We did saute mushrooms for some of our other diners. This was such a great meal and we are excited to make it again this time making a larger portion of the sauce. A delish recipe pick Eva!

Chicken Mmmmmmsala (errr . . . Chicken Jerez?)

I tried the Chicken Marsala. My dad is here, so I had someone to cook for. That was great! It was especially fun being that it was Eva's recipe.
Annoying little tidbit: Marsala is from Italy, I think it's from Sicily actually. I live SO close to Sicily, but went to three places that did NOT carry dry Marsala. I found the sweet stuff, but that wouldn't be suitable for this recipe. So, I went online to look for a substitute. Luckily I had some Jerez Seco (Dry Sherry) in my cupboard.
It turned out GREAT! It was so, so, so, so good. I followed the recipe to the T, other than the Marsala. Dad thought it was excellent as well. I wouldn't do anything differently . . . although, I might like to try it sometime with Marsala to compare.
Thanks, Eva!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stacy: MIA for a while

Ladies, I'm heading out of the country next week so will not be participating, but I will try to get a funky food themed picture for you all from Chile! Brant had some real adventures with blood sausage there. Not sure I'll be that bold, but I'll try to dig up something. :)

something to look fwd to...

Good Morning girls.... looks like i'm up next on the list :)
i have to say i typically don't measure out stuff when i cook but i'll do my best to come up with some measurements for you girls and how many it serves. I wrote up a preliminary menu yesterday. I decided to do a whole dinner menu. I'll be cooking it this weekend and posting it this weekend as well... We haven't had a fish reciepe yet so I decided to go with a Maple glazed salmon, roasted rosemary potatoes and a summer salad. These are reciepes that I have come up with on my own so I'm looking fwd to hearing your thoughts and suggestions. You know girls... we may just end up with a wonderful cook book on our hands with all these yummy recipies everyone is contributing. Have a great day and a Happy 4th of July everyone!

love it

Love Love Love the chicken marsala!!!
mmmmm yummy!
thank u, thank u

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Keep The Recipes Comin'!

The chicken marsala is a repeat, for sure! I really liked it and itwas obvious that Andy and each of the kids did too! I have never made this before so I decided to stick to the recipe closely, maybe more closely than I ever have. I think next time I will use the same amount of liquid but less bouillon and not quite as much salt on the chicken, I felt like the sauce was a bit too salty (Andy did not). I tried the linguine trick that Stacy suggested and I really like that, it's hard to know exactly when to transfer the pasta from water to sauce but I think I managed. Next time I will not simmer quite so much down, it wasn't as saucy as we would have liked. I have concluded something that I have always known subconsciously... I LOVE the smell of butter, onions, salt and pepper sauteing in the pan! Oh my gosh it is absolutely euphoric! I am loving new recipes to try out so often and it is even more fun to know that my friends are experiencing the same ones at the same time. I have realized, however, I am so excited and focused on the new recipe that any side dish is totally an after-thought! Luckily tonight I had some salad greens already washed and prepared so I just threw them into a bowl, otherwise we would have had to consider the mushrooms our veggie! FOUR THUMBS UP!!!


Hey! Would everyone please include in their recipes how many servings it makes? It's really not that big of a deal but I am in the place were it's now not enough to make a recipe for my family that serves four, I need to make six servings. Anyway, it's just a request. Thanks!