It’s summer! The time of fresh fruit and lazy days… the time when you want to be able to go outside and enjoy your friends and family… the time for easy or starter recipes… This is when I like to have a few recipes on hand that make my life a little easier, especially on those days when the temperature is high and my energy is not. For those days, I give you the Summer Watermelon Salad!
This recipe couldn’t be easier… four ingredients and easy to adjust for the number of people you’re feeding! This is actually one of my favorite lunches… light and simple, it just screams “SUMMER” to me.
Watermelon – cut into bite-size pieces. Use as much or as little as you like, but this is your *main* ingredient. I typically use about 3 cups.
Feta cheese – I like to use crumbled *light* feta, but you can use whatever type makes you happy. I dump in some from the container – about 1/2 cup.
Basil – if I have fresh, I take a small handful and cut into a chiffonade (little ribbons). If not, I take a generous pinch of dried. I’ve done both and fresh is definitely better in this – it’s a wonderful flavor!
White wine – I use what I have in my fridge, about 1/8-1/4 cup total. I’ve used dry (Chardonnay and Pinot Gris/Grigio) and I’ve used semi-sweet/off-dry (Vidal Blanc and Viogner)… use what you like!
Cut watermelon into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with feta cheese and basil. Toss lightly and adjust amounts as needed.
Thumb 1/8-1/4 cup of white wine over the salad and allow time to marinate before serving.
I typically drain a bit of the liquid off before serving. This ends up being a mixture of wine and watermelon juice that isn’t really necessary.
This is a great example of how I use “The Force” when cooking… so many variations to make this salad and it’s always delicious. Hope you’ll try it and come up with your own favorite way to make this salad!
I got the basics of this casserole from my friend Jacqui, during our first duty station. She called her recipe “Sweet Potato Pie with Cornflakes” but I’ve evolved it into something a bit different over the years. My guys really love the topping and I adore the sweet potato itself, so it’s a great side dish for our holiday turkey menu. I hope you feel the same!
2 large cans sweet potatoes (or yams), drained
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
2-3T white wine (semi dry or dry wine)
cinnamon to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups cornflakes
2-3 cups mini marshmallows
Mix drained sweet potatoes with pineapple and season with wine, cinnamon, and salt to taste.
Spoon into 9×13 casserole pan and flatten with back of spoon.
In a bowl, melt butter and mix with brown sugar. Add cornflakes and mini marshmallows, mixing well to coat everything with the butter/sugar mixture.
Spoon topping over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until marshmallows are toasty and bubbly.
This is a great side dish for those people who don’t really want a vegetable for holidays. We have learned that the topping doesn’t reheat very well, so feel free to suggest that people eat the sweet topping before putting the leftover sweet potatoes in the fridge.
As for the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? Here’s a link to figure out which tuber you might be using!
You’ve had the traditional “Green Bean Casserole“, right? It’s the one on the back of the Campbell’s soup can…. the one that has been around forever… the one that everyone makes for holiday meals. What would you think if I told you that we make this same casserole with PEAS instead of green beans? THIS is a game-changer, people. It’s absolutely amazing and is a staple on almost every holiday menu (or at least Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter) in our family.
Frozen Peas (1- 1 1/2 16oz bags)
1 can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 can French’s Onion Rings (reserve 1/2-3/4 cup for topping)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 cup white wine (I like a dry or semi-dry wine)
1 packet G. Washington Brown boullion *Trust me, this stuff is worth finding. LOVE it and use it in so many ways!
Mix everything together, topping with the reserved Onion Rings.
Bake in greased casserole dish at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly.
This is our family’s “must have” recipe on any holiday table. It also works well when mixing with turkey, stuffing, and gravy (and topped with mashed potatoes) to make a leftover turkey shepherd’s pie.
Give it a try sometime… you may find that you like this even better than the standard recipe!
I’m really not sure when I got this basic recipe from my sister, but it was the perfect one to use when making a quick bread to give to the guys who are out plowing our neighborhood in today’s snow storm. I, of course, added a little white wine, but you can certainly omit that if you prefer. Here’s how to make this delicious quick bread:
2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2/3 c orange juice
2 T white wine
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 T melted butter
1/2 c coconut
1 cup craisins (or chopped fresh cranberries)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 T chia seeds
2 t orange rind, freshly ground is preferred
NOTE: original recipe called for 1/3 c pecans and NO chips or seeds)
1/2 confectioners sugar
1 t margarine
1 t almond milk (more, if needed)
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a loaf pan and lightly coat with sugar (I used cinnamon sugar)
In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and then mix in orange juice and wine. In separate bowl mix coconut, craisins, chips, and seeds – toss together with a spoon of flour to prevent clumping.
Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in the liquids Mix well. Add coconut/craisin mixture and blend everything together until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Blend confectioners sugar, margarine, and milk to make a thin glaze. Use your best judgement and feel free to use orange juice or wine instead of milk for a different taste, if desired.
Pour glaze over the entire bread while still warm. Remove from pan when slightly cooled and slice as desired to serve. Great when warm but equally good cold.
This recipe is quick to put together and looks amazing when cut. You can leave it as a whole loaf if giving as a gift (we used to do this for teachers) but it’s moist and full of flavor. Best part, in my opinion, is that it makes the kitchen smell heavenly!
Enjoy this recipe and please, stay safe in this blizzard we’re experiencing on the East Coast!
I’m sending this recipe to The Today Show for a segment by Joy Bauer on healthy apple recipes. The writing below is a bit different than my typical babbling about how to make something (I thought this might sound more professional) but I wanted to share this recipe with you all first. It’s just so darn tasty… I hope you agree!
I make a Red Breakfast Hash that is a great brunch recipe – full of flavor and color! I’ve put a few variations on my wine blog (www.fromthebottomofawinebottle.wordpress.com) but this is one of my favorite offerings. The recipe can be increased or decreased as needed and it uses up any leftover baked potatoes or extra veggies left in your fridge, so it’s healthy AND a good value.
Basic Ingredients for two:
*1 tablespoon butter
*one baked potato, diced
*one onion, diced
*one apple, cored and diced (I like to leave the skin on)
*Red Wine (I use whatever is in my fridge at the time)
*Salt/pepper to taste
*2 eggs (plus some white vinegar to poach eggs)
Melt butter in a non-stick skillet and saute’ potato, onion, and apple until browned and a little crispy.
Add red wine to your skillet and give your potato mixture some time to soak up all that flavor and color. Add salt and pepper to taste
While you’re working on #1 and #2, boil some water with some white vinegar added and drop the eggs in to poach just before your wine is totally absorbed.
To serve, divide the red potato mixture onto two plates, top with the poached eggs and break the yolk to share that yummy goodness with the rest of your food.
I came up with this recipe while working at a winery in VA. There’s an old joke that goes “what do you call a meal without wine? Breakfast”, so I decided that I had to fix that problem. This can be made healthier by using more of the onion/apple mixture, but I really like using a 1:1:1 ratio so the flavors are easily recognizable. You can also add sautee’d peppers into the mix, if you’d like. If you’re not a “poached egg fan”, feel free to fry the egg or simply use Fat-free egg substitute as your egg choice.
Note: the photo mashup I included was created on Picmonkey, using iPhone photos of the food in various stages of creation. I like to use these on my website to entice people into trying to make my recipes, since they tend to be fairly easy and enjoyable to make.
There’s something wonderful about having Chili on a cold winter’s day that just makes me feel warm inside. The intoxicating smell of a simmering blend of onion, garlic, and green pepper gets me in the mood for a crackling fire, snow on the ground, and a big pot of chili.
Since I live in Virginia, “snow on the ground” typically isn’t going to happen very often, but once the temperature dips into the lower 40’s, I’m ready to start going through my winter repertoire and cooking up some wonderful hearty dinners. This recipe is basic and allows for anyone to alter ingredients to suit their own particular tastes. Here’s the general starting point:
1 package ground turkey
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 small (or 1 large) onion, chopped
Crushed garlic, to taste
1 cup Cabernet Franc
½ small can tomato paste
1 Large can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (with or without spices)
1 can light kidney beans
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can cannellini beans (white beans)
Brown the ground turkey in olive oil, using a large stock pot. Add green pepper, onions, and garlic, sauteeing until vegetables are softened. Add wine and tomato paste and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add canned tomatoes and beans (I don’t drain or rinse my beans). If desired, mash one of the cans of beans prior to adding, to thicken the chili. Cook to warm everything thoroughly. Add spices to taste. If chili is still too thin, add remaining half can of tomato paste.
This is my most basic recipe. If you want to make it hot, feel free to add some cayenne pepper… if you want it to be sweeter, feel free to add some honey or sugar. This is a flexible recipe, so feel free to make it your own by adding or subtracting items as you see fit.
That’s the beauty of cooking… enjoy the process and revel in your results.