Farro Salad with Snow Peas

Farro is a grain that lends itself to so many recipes.  It is rich in nutrients and has a wonderful subtle nutty flavor and great texture.  In this recipe it is served cold, it also keeps for several days so it can be made ahead of time if serving for an event.

3 Cups cooked farro, drained and chilled

1 small mini cucumber (about 5″ long) cubed, peel on

1 cup fresh snow peas, blanched and chilled

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all the above ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill.

Serving suggestion:   Delicious when paired with mini pita pockets and tzatziki*

*find recipe on blog


“Crust-less” Summer Tomato Tart

This version of a tomato tart uses freshly grated small potatoes as the “crust” rather than pastry, resulting in a lower carb version of this delicious favorite!

5-6 small red potatoes (boiler size, approx. 2″ in diameter)

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

scant 1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp. herbs d’provence

5-6 roma tomatoes

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the tomatoes thinly and place in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for about 15 minutes.  This process allows the tomatoes to release excess moisture.  Meanwhile prepare a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom by lightly spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper*. Grate the potatoes.  Mix the potatoes with the cheese, olive oil, and herbs.  Mixture will be loose. Press into the tart pan covering the bottom in a very thin layer.  Place in the oven and bake approx. 20 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and layer the tomatoes slightly overlapping on the crust (see picture).

Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place back in the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Remove and cool slightly.  Can be served warm or even at room temperature.

*The parchment is an option.  I do this regularly now with many recipes, even with non-stick coatings.  It protects your pans with the Teflon coating and also makes removal so much easier, food just slips off the parchment and onto your serving dish of choice.

Chicken Piccata

Serves 4

1 – 1 1/2 lb. package boneless chicken breasts.  Approx. 3 large to 4 medium sized breasts.  Chicken breast cutlets may also be used, keep in mind these are thinner so quantity may need to be increased.

1 cup all purpose flour

salt and course ground pepper

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

Juice from 4 lemons

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 tbsp. capers

Place one of the chicken breasts (one at a time) on a cutting board.  Completely cover with plastic wrap and pound out with a meat pounder until thin, about 1/2″ thick or less.  Put aside and repeat with the others.  Place the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large fry pan.  Take one of the chicken pieces and dredge lightly through the flour, immediately transfer to the fry pan. Working quickly, repeat with the remaining chicken.  Turn over and fry until a golden brown color, on both sides.  A little extra butter may be added if desired.  Once the chicken is browned pour at once the lemon juice over the chicken.  Move the chicken pieces around the pan so that the juices begin to thicken.  Then add the white wine and the capers.  Allow the chicken to cook in the juices for another 5 minutes or so, or until the pan juices thicken slightly.

To serve – transfer the chicken pieces to a platter and pour the juices over.

Cheese and Mushroom Tart

I found this recipe in a resort magazine.  It is absolutely fabulous and so easy to make.  A perfect side to a hearty bone-in pork roast or served alone with a salad for a luncheon.


1 frozen piecrust shell, thawed

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lb. baby bella or wild mushroom mix, sliced

2 tsp. fresh or dried thyme leaves

3 tbsp. dry sherry or white wine

4 oz. sour cream

2 oz. blue cheese

4 oz. goat cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork and bake 9 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan.   Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add sherry.  Stir, then cook an additional 5-6 minutes until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are cooked down.  Remove from heat.

Whisk together sour cream, blue, goat, parmesan cheese and egg.  Spread on the bottom of prepared piecrust.  Top with mushrooms.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Granola Topping

Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 1/2 cups  whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. kosher (coarse) salt
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
Granola topping:
1 1/2 cups good quality nut granola broken up so there are no large chunks
Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups or grease well if not using paper liners.
In large bowl, mix flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger; make well in center of mixture. In medium bowl, stir sugar, oil, water and eggs with whisk. Stir in pumpkin; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Sprinkle the granola onto the batter.
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Serve warm or cool.

Broccoli Casserole

This recipe has been one of my go-to recipes for decades now.  It is sure to win over even the most “non-broccoli” fan.

3-4 medium sized broccoli stalks

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 eggs slightly beaten

1 cup low fat mayonnaise

1 cup low sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup cracker crumbs (either Ritz or Salteens)

Cut up and cook the broccoli until almost tender.  Drain and place in a casserole dish.  Mix the onion, eggs, mayonnaise and soup together.  Spread over the broccoli.  Sprinkle over the cracker crumbs.  Bake at 350F for approx. 30 – 35 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle over the grated cheese.  Return to the oven and cook until the cheese has melted.


Amish Breakfast Casserole

1/2 pound sliced bacon
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cups (12 ounces) fat free cottage cheese

Optional additions:

1 cup frozen then thawed and drained well, chopped spinach

1 cup chopped, sautéed and drained fresh wild mushroom mix


1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, drain.  Remove the bacon and coarsely chop.  Return to the skillet and add the chopped onion.  Saute together until the onion is glossy.  Remove and transfer to a bowl.  In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in the bacon mixture. Transfer to a greased 13×9-in. baking dish.

2. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

Note – This is a great recipe to make the night before you intend to serve in the morning.  Just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  In the morning remove and place in the preheated oven and cook as directed.  If adding any of the optional ingredients, the key is to remove any excess moisture so as to avoid the casserole from becoming runny.

Roasting Cornish Game Hens

I love roasting chicken in the winter months.  Nothing beats the aroma through the house on a snowy day.  However, besides the tantalizing smells, you can’t beat the presentation factor when serving Cornish Game Hens.  Here are my tips for roasting and presenting juicy and beautiful individual hens.

Start with a fresh and plump hen.  Count on one per person.  Wash and pat dry with paper towels.  I like to stuff mine with fresh lemon, herbs de Provence, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Stuff each bird with the lemon wedges, seasonings and a clove of garlic and/or fresh rosemary if desired.  With cooking twine, push the “tail” up and tie the drumsticks around it so as to close the cavity.  Turn the bird over and gently twist the wings so as to tuck under the hen (see picture).

Place the prepared hens into a roasting pan that is slightly oiled.  Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roast in 400F preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove pan and turn the hens over.  Roast for another 10 minutes.  Remove pan and turn the hens back to breast side up.  Turn oven down to 350F.  Continue to roast until juices run clear and skin is golden (approx. 45 to 60 min. depending on size).  Remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil for approx. 10 to 15 minutes.  Plate and serve with your favorite sides.

Buttery Cutouts with Buttercream and Jam Filling

Adapted from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible

These are an absolute favorite at our house.  In the picture, we made them as hearts for Valentines Day.  They can be made in a variety of shapes, circles, squares, etc.  The aroma as they bake is bliss!

2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced

2/3 cups sugar

1 egg yolk

For the filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup confectioners sugar

4-5 tbsp. strawberry jam

Place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and egg yold and process until the mixture starts to form a dough.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking sheets.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds (or whatever desired shape).  Re-roll the trimmings and continue until you have approx. 30-40 cookies.  Place half the cookies on a prepared baking sheet.  Using a smaller cutter, cut the centers of the remaining cookies. Place onto a baking sheet.  Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes until pale golden, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the buttercream –

Beat the butter and sugar together until very creamy and smooth.

To Assemble –

Using a small knife or spreader, spread a little buttercream on to each ‘whole’ cookie.  Spoon a little jam on to the buttercream in the center of the cookie, gently press the cut-out cookie on top so the jam fills the cut out center.



Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Adapted from The Brown-Eyed Baker

While there isn’t any salted caramel used directly in the cupcakes, there is one part of the process that creates a caramel-like flavor. Instead of beating together the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl as most recipes would call for, the butter and sugar are cooked slowly in a saucepan until the butter is completely melted. The result is a little bit of a mix between a nutty, caramel flavor and that of browned butter.


For the Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream


  1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard-size muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth, and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture, beating until smooth.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Malted Chocolate Frosting:
adapted from She Wears Many Hats
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup malted milk powder
  • 7 tablespoons milk
  1. In a mixer, beat butter and vanilla extract together until smooth.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, lightly mix.
  3. Gradually add in milk, one tablespoon at a time until smooth.